The Raven [Blu-ray]
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A brutal killing spree terrorizes 19th-century Baltimore and a young detective turns to a notorious author for help getting inside the mind of a serial killer in the stylish, gothic thriller, The Raven, an audacious reimagining of the lurid tales of Edgar Allan Poe. Starring John Cusack as the infamous inventor of the detective fiction genre and Luke Evans as an ambitious sleuth determined to stop more of Poe's gruesome stories from coming to chilling life--and death--The Raven weaves history and fiction into an original and twisted mystery worthy of the master of the macabre himself.When a mother and daughter are found viciously murdered in 19th-century Baltimore, Detective Emmett Fields (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 outcast Edgar Allan Poe (Cusack). But even as Poe is questioned by police, another grisly killing occurs, also inspired by a popular Poe story.A deadly game of cat and mouse ensues as the pair races to stop a madman from turning every one of the author's shocking stories into blood-curdling reality. When Poe's love, Emily (Alice Eve), becomes the killer's next target, the stakes are raised even higher and he must call on his own powers of deduction to try to solve the case before it's too late.
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Top customer reviews
John Cusack is a good casting choice as Poe and pretty much everyone else hits the right notes too. The music is overpowering but the production design and Budapest backdrop give it a distinct and disturbing look that would suit one of his stories. As Poe is generally considered one of the pioneers of detective fiction, it's fitting that this historical mash-up is told in the form of a detective story and for the most part it keeps the audience guessing effectively.
There's enough blending of known parts of Poe's character and artistic license for the whole idea to work. Although this is from the same director as V For Vendetta, don't expect anything too similar - it's not as polished as V but still an interesting film all by itself. There's enough to keep literary fans watching and also engage people who've never heard of the man.
It seemed to me that whoever wrote this, was trying to put a lot characteristics of Robert Downey Jr's interpretation of Sherlock Holmes into Edgar Alan Poe. Cusack's Poe was too jovial for me, too lighthearted for my liking. I enjoyed his quick wit but I never got the sense that there was a dark, disturbing, unsettling true drunkard/genius here. Cusack is going for the hollywood-ish Poe here rather than something that's truly inspired by what we know of Poe. But in this particular case, it was the best route to go, imo. That choice works best here because if Cusack were to go all out and pull, let's say a Jamie Foxx's "Ray" or Deniro's "Raging Bull" the movie would have been that much more worse only because the written material would not match the actor's ambition.
It is a good rental but I can't imagine anyone taking this home for good save it be that they are extreme Poe fans and erroneously believe that they must fully support this movie to show their loyalty to a great writer...who has actually nothing to do with this movie except that his popular works are referenced here.
I watched the movie on amazon instant video... thingy in HD. Quality was good, no streaming issues. Initially, it paused during the producing company's logos but the movie itself played smoothly.
After watching the trailer this presented itself as a Sherlock Holmes-style thriller. Overall, the movie is well-done. If you like Cusack (the reason why this was a must to watch for me) then this fits right into other performances and patterns of his movies. The costumes were appropriate as were the settings/scenery.
Now, the plot felt a bit shallow and I would have walked away and come back to it had I not paid $4.99 for the rental (the famous "Box" does not have the Bluray just yet). I did like the ending/last few minutes and thought that they were creative. Would I watch it again? Most likely not. And, I would not by the DVD/Bluray on sale either.
However, if you like Cusack and are a big fan, you should -- without question -- watch this movie. He does well with the gloomy/depressed intellectual with that forever shimmer of hope inside of him. I think the movie reminded me of blend of V for Vendetta, Sherlock Holmes, and The Legends of Sleepy Hollow; Holmes being the least similar.