Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Raven (2012)(Minor Spoilers Review)

**This review contains MINOR spoilers, no major reveals, character deaths, or plot twists**

It’s 1849, and in Baltimore, Maryland Edgar Allan Poe (John Cusack) is recruited by Detective Fields (Luke Evans) to catch a killer inspired by Poe’s work. With each murder, the killer reenacts Poe’s tales, short stories, and poems with a helpless victim, who’s forced to suffer through it all.

Poe is forced to take a more hands on approach in the ongoing investigation, when the killer targets his fiance Emily Hamilton (Alice Eve), and Emily’s father, Captain Charles Hamilton (Brendan Gleeson) will have to put aside his bitter feelings for Poe. Fields and Poe work together to decipher the killer’s tricky puzzles, but the killer is one step ahead of them before each murder……

I think it’s safe to say John Cusack delivers the best performance here. Cusack is this nutty and delusional alcoholic with a snarky sense of humor at first, but as the story progresses, Cusack shows a more serious side. And during the finale, Cusack was believable, as this desperate and heartbroken man. Evans isn’t bad, but he doesn’t deserve too much of the blame. Basically, Evans is supposed to be this ingenious inspector/detective, and Evans gave it his all with the Fields character, but the character is way too generic, dull, and one dimensional. Gleeson has his moments as the strict father, and Eve delivers a solid performance as Emily.

The Raven is loaded with a lot familiar tropes. The obsessive and delusional fan, who kills in honor of  their idol (for a random example, think about The Fan with Robert De Niro and Wesley Snipes), the supposedly cunning detective (Fields), the amateur (Poe), who’s forced to help solve the case, and I can’t forget about the typical rivalry between the overbearing father (Charles) and the unworthy boyfriend or husband (Poe). The Raven is filled with a lot of noticeable clichés, and it’s almost impossible to ignore them all.

Still, I enjoyed The Raven. Yeah, The Raven has some problems, but the whodunit game of cat and mouse is intriguing enough to hold your attention and keep you guessing until the very end. The Pit And The Pendulum scene (you’ll know it, when you see it) is pretty graphic and nasty, but overall, the blood and gore isn’t too disgusting or cringeworthy. Plus, Poe fans should appreciate The Raven’s numerous attempts to pay homage to Poe’s poetry and short stories, because The Raven is able to pay tribute to Poe, while working his more memorable and recognizable stuff into the current storylines. The Raven’s disappointing finale is a real shame, though. I’m tempted to go with a higher score, but the big reveal at the end needed more zing for a real payoff.

Rating: 6/10

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