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Movie Review: "The Raven"

"The Raven" (Relativity Media)

For all of you John Cusack fans out there “The Raven” is a reason to celebrate. For all others this is not such great news. Cusack is pretty much the only reason to watch this new film about the last days of Edgar Allen Poe so if you are not a big time fan then the movie will probably just bore you to tears.

This hypothetical story about Poe (Cusack) getting involved with a murder investigation during his last days on earth requires big leaps of faith and possibility by the viewer. As the film opens we find Poe pretty much poverty stricken because of his affinity for alcohol and drugs. He also is not being paid much for his stories and/or critiques. This causes him to be a pretty bitter individual.

After several tragic love relationships he is at last happy with the lovely Emily Hamilton (Alice Eve). Her father (Brendan Gleeson) however is bitterly opposed to Poe’s courtship of his daughter. He forbids her to see him so Emily and Poe have to sneak around to see each other.

When a horrendous murder is committed in Baltimore the investigating police officer (Luke Evans) sees a definite similarity to the staging of the murder and one of Poe’s stories. He brings Poe in for a consult and later uses him to investigate other murders which are similar to his stories. Finally Emily is kidnapped and held by the murderer. Poe is challenged to outthink him and to save Emily.

All of this plotting sounds more interesting than it is. Most of the story is muddled and difficult to follow. Then there is Cusack’s performance which is one note and not appealing in the least. He makes Poe a whiny, difficult to get along with individual who is without a touch of charm. It is hard to understand how someone as intelligent and beautiful as Emily would find him appealing.

The film is rated R for profanity and violence.

There seems to have been a good movie lost in this one. Perhaps with a more charismatic actor and a more defined plot it could have been more entertaining. As is, it is a film for John Cusack fans only and there aren’t that many of those around.

I scored “The Raven” a nevermore 4 out of 10.

Photo courtesy of: Relativity Media

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