Saturday, April 28, 2012

Movie Review - The Raven

The Raven

Starring: John Cusack, Luke Evans, Alice Eve, Brendan Gleeson, Kevin McNally, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Jimmy Yuill, Sam Hazeldine, Pam Ferris, and more.

Directed by: James McTeigue Screenplay by: Ben Livingston and Hannah Shakespeare Original Music by: Lucas Vidal Cinematography by: Danny Ruhlmann

Premise: Author Edgar Allan Poe is drawn into a criminal investigation when a serial killer uses his stories as the basis for the string of crimes. But just having Poe involved is not enough for the killer, who raises the stakes to force Mr. Poe to write again. (Rated R)


1) Acting - Total Thumbs Up: In my opinion, this might just be one of John Cusack's best performances ever. Backed up by a cast of veterans, the whole ensemble shines. Alice Eve was great as the spunky Emily Hamilton. Luke Evans was delicious as Detective Fields. Great job by all involved.

2) Special Effects - Thumbs Up: Grisly deaths abound, but not too gory, though blood was used in abundance. The pendulum effect was specifically poignant. You could almost hear Vincent Price cackling in the background.

The added wide city scenes of  Baltimore and Paris were detailed and beautiful but not as convincing as other efforts in the same vein. But otherwise the special effects and CGI team did a great job.

3) Plot/Story - Total Thumbs Up: Since Poe is dubbed as the inventor of detective fiction, it seemed only apt that he would become embroiled by a serial killer into solving said killer's string of crimes. Better yet was the use of the few facts which are known about the great author's death and weaving them into this fantastical recreation of what may have been the great author's final days.

Bits and parts of many of Mr. Poe's works are woven into the film as well as different aspects of his life. This was obviously written by people who have studied Poe and his works in detail as well as the time period itself. Great job!

The mystery is pretty straight forward with several false trails that still lead forward. Minuscule clues are dotted throughout the tale, but like the protagonists, the viewer must put them together to get a hint of the culprit before all is revealed.

4) Locations/Cinematography - Total Thumbs Up: The theater, Poe's home, the Captain's home, the paper, all the indoor locations were fabulous. The shots of the moon and the raven shown close to the beginning of the film were poignant.

5) Costuming/Makeup - Total Thumbs Up: The period costumes looked authentic from the people on the street, the aristocracy, to the Baltimore police. I also was very pleased to see that Miss Hamilton did not appear as a freshly pressed flower while she was under duress, giving the film even more authenticity.

Conclusion: Totally worth watching. Between the atmosphere, the acting, and the story itself, well worth your time.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 (Hubby's Rating: Worth Full Price of Admission)


  1. Totally agree with everything you say here. Didn't read the review until after I saw it on purpose. It was a great movie, I thought.

    1. Sweet! Glad you enjoyed it. Was a lot of fun :)

  2. I definitely enjoyed the movie, and I have to say my favorite characters are Detective Fields and that tall policeman with the huge sideburns, John. All of the actors did really well, but for some reason the cops just stood out to me.

    1. They did, didn't they? From the previews I was convinced Fields was it. lol. He was so intense! Was shocked when I looked up Luke Evans and realized I'd just seen his work recently in the Immortals and The Three Musketeers. With the hair longer and no facial hair, he looked radically different. :P Oliver Jackson-Cohen was a good pair up for Evans as well.

    2. X3 During that tunnel scene when Fields was yelling instructions I did a massive double-take and thought 'wait, does he have ~fangs~?!' which of course he didn't, but he has pretty long canines and the angle of the shot made it look that way. So I had this tangent going in the back of my mind as I watched the movie looking for further evidence that Fields was actually a vampire.

      And the movie promptly provided some when Fields blew out his lamp to see better in the pitch-black tunnels (yes, it was to see the other guy's lamp, but still XD ), and survived a 10ft+ fall down that ladder unscathed.

      And then of course the bit at the church where he and John get wounded had me going "Fields, quick, turn John!" because as far as I was concerned, all the cops there would know about Fields - that was logically why he picked them to come with him, after all, and he strikes me as the pack-mentality kind of guy who would have a band-of-brothers thing going. (as opposed to the loner type you so often see in vamp movies)

      Mind you, for a bullet to leave a lasting impression with a vampire, I figured it had to have been specially made/treated/bespelled/whatever, which meant that Ivan knew about vamps. Or was one himself.

      Which, actually, an age-old vampire who'd gone completely around the psychotic bend until he started going all slice and dice and recreating Edgar Allan Poe's stories would have been an awesome (if someone improbable) plot-twist, especially if Fields had to be the one to take down his fellow vampire while hiding the fact that vamps existed from the civilians. And Poe.

      That final scene with Ivan and Fields was wonderful (also, sufficient funds to randomly take off on a cross-ocean voyage because they didn't exactly have planes back then = filthy rich = more evidence for vampire!Fields) although a nice stake through the heart would have worked too. *G*

    3. Lol! I hadn't gone there, but could be fun! Heck, after the preview of Abraham Lincoln Vampire Slayer just before the movie, the seeds had been planted. Hee hee!

      And yes, that final scenes was great. Poor Fields probably went super cheap pressed in with a bunch of people. He looked like while not rich, he was decently well off. But, totally love this whole subplot you had going! What fun!


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