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This review is from: The Raven [DVD] (DVD)
Cusack is a pleasant actor to watch, seems natural with a hint that he might be about to perform a Vincent Price wink to camera.
However, though this Poe is acceptably modernised in performance, there is a persistent name-dropping of key people from Poe's real history blended less than seamlessly with a graphic-novel stylised version of Poe'ness; there seems to be a distinct lack of the true gothic to the whole atmosphere. Fog & a thinned out forest of thin trees does not make for gothicism. And the blood was hardly super-abundant, indeed, dwelling on death as a motif or telling theme seems to gone by the way-side, becoming background shade.
The overall effect was similar to a blend of From Hell and one of the Conan Doyle based tales that was under the monicker of Dark Beginnings of Sherlock Holmes, it had that 'lets hunt a serial killer in period costume' feel. There was more a sense of Gaston Leroux to the proceedings too, which could have again made it more gothic in the crime arena. But it did not. Perhaps it was a little over-polished.
Clean, clinical with a fine series of performances. Lacking emotional details, or a sense of overt passion, perhaps there was an attempt to avoid the camp or gothic hysteria which could have made it less money but more rewarding. It will probably grow on people, benefit from further watching, but i fear the clinician that made it is driven to a youthful bent, that has limited the sense of pervading dread and sheer gravity of age, that Poe encapsulated & felt. I could have done with a few trappings or cliches just to add a little pepper, say a cobweb or a stage-hand peeling what might be a grape...