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The Raven [Blu-ray] [Region Free]
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In this gritty thriller, Edgar Allan Poe (John Cusack, Being John Malkovich) joins forces with a young Baltimore detective (Luke Evans, Immortals) to hunt down a mad serial killer who's using Poe's own works as the basis in a string of brutal murders. Directed by James McTeigue (V for Vendetta, Ninja Assassin), the film also stars Alice Eve (Sex and the City 2), Brendan Gleeson (In Bruges) and Oliver Jackson-Cohen (Faster).
When a mother and daughter are found brutally murdered in 19th century Baltimore, Detective Emmett Fields (Luke Evans) makes a startling discovery: the crime resembles a fictional murder described in gory detail in the local newspaper--part of a collection of stories penned by struggling writer and social pariah Edgar Allan Poe. But even as Poe is questioned by police, another grisly murder occurs, also inspired by a popular Poe story.
Realising a serial killer is on the loose using Poe's writings as the backdrop for his bloody rampage, Fields enlists the author's help in stopping the attacks. But when it appears someone close to Poe may become the murderer's next victim, the stakes become even higher and the inventor of the detective story calls on his own powers of deduction to try to solve the case before it's too late.
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Top Customer Reviews
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...
However, John Cusack is a great Poe, looking both haunted and eccentric and delivering a decent performance considering the script he's been saddled with. Other cast members are less memorable, Brendan Gleeson and Luke Evans are given decent parts but again the dialogue is never polished enough. Alice Eve delivers a good performance as Poe's love but isn't given very much to do.
As for the direction, it is effective, there are some well staged set pieces, both disturbing and fast paced but its not sweeping and subtle enough. The period setting could have been used to greater effect to achieve a more gritty, realistic atmosphere, but is instead a bit too polished and hollywood to achieve the gothic, spooky setting this film needed. The soundtrack, too, is not effectively scary or jumpy enough and does nothing to heighten the tense occasions dotted sporadically throughout the film.
Overall, the Raven needed a whole new script, a grittier atmosphere and more twists in the story.Read more ›
This is an absolutely fabulous film, with just the right amounts of gore, goth, mystery and entertainment. John Cusack gives what I think is one of his best ever performances (watch "Max" for his absolute best), playing a wonderful and understated Poe, and at one point reciting a quite breathtaking rendition of the title poem. Luke Evans is also superb in his role as the detective.
Those who are looking for a Poe biopic, that is something this film was never meant to be. It's a wonderful fictional account of the last days of Poe's life, with plenty of truths, actual speculations and nods to Poe's works thrown in.
I was thoroughly gripped throughout the whole film, and while there maybe could have been a little more suspense and excitement in the unveiling of the killer, there is very, VERY little to disappoint in this film. I waited with as much eager anticipation for the blu-ray release as I did the cinema release and will certainly be watching this again and again. Even my other half, who was dragged along to watch this with me (and who usually hates period films, is not particularly a fan of Cusack and has never read Poe in his life) was hooked and genuinely enjoyed it!
Definitely a must-watch.
Astute detective Emmett Fields (Luke Evans) finds the crime resembles that of a bloodthirsty tale in the local newspaper, written by a struggling persona non grata, Edgar Allan Poe (John Cusack), who spends most of his time drinking, womanising, especially with Emily Hamilton (Alice Eve), and scrambling to make ends meet. Poe is inevitably questioned by the police whilst at the same time the killer strikes again with another murder based on a newspaper Poe story. Realising a 'serial killer' (a term not used at that time) is on the prowl, Fields enrolls Poe's help to trap the murderer, especially when the next victim may be known to the author, before it is too late. In these situations it is inevitable that the viewer is thrown off track as to the identity of the perpetrator of the murders. Just so here.
John Cusack is excellent in the lead and portrays Poe in an elementary manner with conviction as does the direction concerning what is genuinely known of Poe's last few days (excluding the fiction). He looks and acts the part. Likewise Luke Evans's performance is assured. The period atmosphere is well captured including scene-setting and costumes. Excellent supporting cast also include Brendan Gleeson and Oliver Jackson Cohen. An overall entertaining film despite some flaws. Great fun.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great little film starring John Cusack. Probably one of his best!Published 1 month ago by Julian Wright
The film was OK to watch once, but I wouldn't bother watching it again. Sent to the charity shop.Published 2 months ago by C. JONES
Brilliant film watched on TV ages ago allways wanted to own a copy glad I finally bought onePublished 5 months ago by mark eastwood