John Cusack, Alice Eve, Luke Evans, Brendan Gleeson
Directed By: James MacTeigue
“The Raven” forgets about literary f actualities. I don’t think it cares about being accurate with dates and what not. What it does is that it uses the final days of Edgar Allan Poe (John Cusack) to create an elaborate cat and mouse chase between a serial killer and detectives. The killer has been using Poe’s stories as a basis for his murders. Inspector Emmett Fields (Luke Evans) is spearheading the hunt, and he enlists the help of Poe to capture the man behind the killings.
Set in 19th century Maryland, we find an alcohol-dependent Poe walking around, asking people if they’re familiar with his work. He’s supposed to be world famous but in his hometown, he’s concluded as a drunk and as a has-been. He hasn’t been working. The paper he works for hasn’t been publishing his stuff due to his lack of inspiration and laziness.
When the murders began to unfold and he’s pointed as one of the potential suspects, he starts retrace all his old work to find clues. The entire second half finds Poe being taunted by the killer to keep digging deep into his stories and locate the where the next murders would take place.
As a thriller, the film succeeds. It’s fast paced and you’re always on your toes. But I think it doesn’t help that most people aren’t familiar with Poe’s work so the unraveling of clues don’t really come as a big surprise. I thought it was similar to Angels and Demons. I think John Cusack is an effective actor except I thought he was channeling Nicholas Cage in National Treasure in this movie. “The Raven” was fun for what it was but it’s forgettable. I actually got disappointed when I learned that the director was the one who did V for Vendetta. That was amazing. I don’t think I’ll ever watch this again. Months from now, I don’t even think I’ll remember that I saw it.
**1/2 (2 1/2 Stars)