The Raven

"Very Good"

The Raven Review


An acerbic sense of humour and a gleefully grisly production style make this gothic thriller good fun to watch. It may be rather preposterous, but it's also a grippingly complex mystery populated by some terrific actors.

In the weeks before his inexplicable death in 1849, author Edgar Allan Poe (Cusack) finds himself at the centre of a series of murders in which a killer is recreating his stories in grotesque scenarios around Baltimore. Detective Fields (Evans) asks Edgar to help with the case, but he's distracted by his girlfriend Emily (Eve), whose harsh father (Gleeson) refuses to allow the couple to marry. As the murders get increasingly personal for Edgar, he realises that his own fate is entwined with the fiendishly clever killer, whoever he may be.

The film opens with a note about how Poe's final days are shrouded in mystery, then proceeds to tell a story that's about as public as it can be, as the events play out in Baltimore's newspapers and among the city's chattering classes. In other words, everything's so fictionalised that the fact that the central character is Poe is almost irrelevant. Not that this really matters, when the filmmakers work so diligently to gleefully gross us out.

Each murderous scenario is more grisly than the last, and Cusack is terrific as a guy horrified that his own imagination is being used in such a ghastly way.

But the filmmakers are having so much fun with the energetic action that they never bother to explore the intriguing issue of a horror writer's creative process. Instead, the film's a series of set pieces involving confusing attacks and chases souped up with period detail.

Thankfully, the actors have plenty of space to add sardonic wit, creating tension between them that makes the film more entertaining than it has a right to be. The mystery resolves in a way that isn't hugely satisfying, but the lively tone never lets up, even as things become increasingly grim. We know that it will end with Poe's death (the story is told as an extended flashback), and while the whodunit isn't hugely convincing as an explanation for real-world events, it's a thoroughly entertaining movie plot.



The Raven

Facts and Figures

Run time: 110 mins

In Theaters: Friday 27th April 2012

Box Office USA: $16.0M

Box Office Worldwide: $22.5M

Budget: $26M

Distributed by: Relativity Media

Production compaines: Relativity Media, Intrepid Pictures, FilmNation Entertainment, Galavis Film, Pioneer Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 23%
Fresh: 29 Rotten: 99

IMDB: 6.4 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: Marc D. Evans, Trevor Macy, Aaron Ryder

Starring: as Edgar Allan Poe, as Detective Emmett Fields, as Emily, as Colonel Hamilton, as Maddux, as John Cantrell, Jimmy Yuill as Captain Eldridge, as Mrs. Bradley, as Reagan, as Percy, as Dr. Morgan

Also starring:

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Murder on the Orient Express Movie Review

Murder on the Orient Express Movie Review

The latest adaptation of Agatha Christie's 83-year-old classic whodunit, this lavish, star-studded film is old-style...

Paddington 2 Movie Review

Paddington 2 Movie Review

The first Paddington movie in 2014 is already such a beloved classic that it's hard...

A Bad Moms Christmas Movie Review

A Bad Moms Christmas Movie Review

Everyone's back from last year's undemanding adult comedy, plus some starry new cast members, for...

Brawl in Cell Block 99 Movie Review

Brawl in Cell Block 99 Movie Review

Filmmaker S. Craig Zahler brought a blast of offbeat creativity to the Western genre two...

The Death of Stalin Movie Review

The Death of Stalin Movie Review

Fans of the film In the Loop and the TV series Veep will definitely not...

Call Me By Your Name Movie Review

Call Me By Your Name Movie Review

Set in northern Italy in the summer of 1983, this internationally flavoured drama is a...

Thor: Ragnarok Movie Review

Thor: Ragnarok Movie Review

The most riotously enjoyable Marvel movie yet, this action epic benefits hugely from the decision...

Advertisement
Breathe Movie Review

Breathe Movie Review

While this biopic has the standard sumptuous production values of a British period drama, it's...

The Snowman Movie Review

The Snowman Movie Review

With a cast and crew packed with A-list talent, this film seems like it should...

The Party Movie Review

The Party Movie Review

Comedies don't get much darker than this pitch-black British movie, written and directed by Sally...

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

Noah Baumbach (Frances Ha) is on his way to becoming the new Woody Allen, which...

6 Below Movie Review

6 Below Movie Review

Based on an astonishing true survival story, this film is subtitled "Miracle on the Mountain",...

Mother Movie Review

Mother Movie Review

Darren Aronofsky doesn't make fluffy movies, and has only had one genuine misfire (2014's Noah)....

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

It's been 35 years since Ridley Scott's 1982 sci-fi classic, which was set in 2019....

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.