Do you remember in high school reading those short stories or plays that were written in the code of old English and if you did not have the teacher there to help interpret you had no clue as to what was going on? For me, that is how a lot of Edgar Allan Poe’s stories were. They were so well written that each word summed up what other authors would spend pages trying to explain. Now that I am a few years older since I first read some of those stories I have a new found appreciation for them especially after seeing The Raven today.
This mystery/thriller does the famous Poe stories justice. The Raven takes place during the final days of Edgar Allan Poe’s life as he is losing credibility as a writer just in time for a serial killer to bring him back into the public eye by using Poe’s tales as a template for his murders. Intertwine a love interest whose father cannot stand Poe and you got a Hollywood story. Here is the trailer:
As my title states, it is an admirable attempt. If I had to make a comparison it is a mesh of David Fincher’s Seven meets Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes. The way the mystery killer rationalizes who he kills and how based on Poe’s stories is like how Seven’s mystery man killed people based on the seven deadly sins. Then the costume and dialogue is similar to the old fashion banter of Sherlock Holmes. The best scene of the whole movie was the costume ball held at the Hamilton’s mansion. The costumes were so well done and it is a pivotal moment of the story.
The acting was pretty well done. I was honestly impressed with John Cusack’s performance. Of course in the beginning he has his usual character cracking smart-ass, snide remarks to demean those he dislikes but once the plot starts developing you can see a shift in his character and that is where his real acting kicks in. Other acting highlights include Luke Evans who was effective as Detective Fields, Alice Eve who played a great love interest, and as always Brendan Gleeson played his role as the stubborn and pompous Captain Hamilton to perfection.
Overall, The Raven is an intriguing mystery and thriller that ties some of Edgar Allan Poe’s classic together inventively. I score it at 7/10. I just found the ending a little unsatisfying.