Customer Review

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Elementary my dear Edgar., 14 Mar. 2014
This review is from: The Raven [DVD] (DVD)
The Raven is directed by James McTeigue and written by Ben Livingston and Hannah Shakespeare. It stars John Cusack, Luke Evans, Alice Eve and Brendan Gleeson. Music is by Lucas Vidal and cinematography by Danny Ruhlmann.

"On October 7, 1849, Edgar Allan Poe was found, near death, on a park bench in Baltimore, Maryland. The last days of his life remain a mystery"

It's a real smart idea that the makers have here, putting their own theory forward on what happened in the lead up to Poe's death. Essentially a period whodunit procedural as Poe (Cusack) and Inspector Emmett Fields (Evans) race against time to find the person who is killing in the style of Poe's literary works. Poe's love interest, Emily Hamilton (Eve), is in grave danger, so as to add extra peril and suspense into the clock ticking drama.

It's a safe piece of entertainment, one that acquaints the uninitiated with Poe's work and his life struggles away from the writing bureau. The detective angle is fun and the murders grizzly and appropriately Gothic in execution. Unfortunately it rarely convinces as a period piece. The dialogue is often out of sync with the era, Eve is miscast, the score is inappropriate and it always feels like actors playing at period rompery.

It's a shame that it is bogged down by such irritants because Teague's direction is stylish, while the art design deserves a round of applause. Cusack is fun to watch, but more at ease playing Sherlock in the second half of the piece than a tortured soul in the first, and Evans is confident in the straight backed gentleman detective stakes. There's a good time to be had here on a surface whodunit follow the clues experience, and Poe fans will delight at catching the many references to his life and spiky works, but it unfortunately misses the mark in too many key areas. 6/10
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Location: Birmingham, England.

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