Friday, May 11, 2012

review: "the raven"

image source: Blackfilm
Two nights ago Scott and I went to see the thriller The Raven (2012), currently playing in theaters.  I tried to get SCSS members and friends alike to go, but not one person seemed eager to take up my offer.  Either the thought of spending time with Scott and I at the movies or the horrendous reviews of the movie scared them all away.  I think it was the latter- As one SCSS member said of the plot:
I think the Victorian aspect and also cinematography in general are nice. In terms of how bad... In my opinion the acting is truly terrible, the story is unoriginal, and it's quite cheesy too.... But hey it wasn't so bad that I ran out (although I did sneak out for an extended ice-cream break)
Scott is a huge John Cusack fan and I write a neo-Victorian blog, so despite the bad reviews and general misgivings we settled in for 111 minutes of an Edgar Allan Poe-inspired horror film.

The plot depicts the last "mysterious" days of Edgar Allan Poe's life, where the drunken, broke, narcissistic and egotistical writer is suffering from writer's block and certain financial ruin.  His beloved' father would rather shoot Poe than see him breathe the same air as his daughter, and his literary genius is sadly under-appreciated.

image source: Hip Variety
That's when finds himself involved in a police investigation to find a serial killer whose methods mirror the macabre inventions of murder and mayhem envisioned in Poe's own stories.

image source: Hip Variety
My assessment of the movie is pretty much the same as my fellow SCSS member.  The plot was contrived and the "clues" deliberately left by the serial killer to lead Poe on his chase were not solved in a way that I thought was rational or exciting at all.

The acting was pretty terrible as well.  I felt as if I was watching John Cusack play Poe as John Cusack, rather than losing all thought of Cusack while enraptured in the film world of EAP.  It wouldn't have hurt to have a bit of drunken slurring and stumbling, especially at the beginning when he was supposed to be at the level of drinking commonly known as "asshole mode."

image source: Hip Variety
Alive Eve was not in the story enough to make a complete assessment of her own acting skills, but my thoughts are that her character did not seem to fit in the 1849 world that they were supposed to live in.  Neither did the term "serial killer," which was used with wild abandon for a time when the term itself would not exist until well into the next century.  And the jury's still out on Emily's use of her metal corset boning to file through wood being possible- was metal boning in existence in 1849?

When the serial killer was finally revealed, I doubt anyone really cared.  It was not exciting, and left me with way more questions than answers about the killer's secret underground lair and the physical abilities of a man who's just ingested a shot glass of poison.  I think the ending would have also been greatly improved if it was proved that the serial killer ended up being Jules Verne.  Instead I think it was supposed to be implied that he was going to stalk Jules Verne like he did Poe, but even that wasn't clear.

image source: Bumbershoot.org
On the bright side the period outfits were very cool, Cusack does look like Poe, and there were plenty of references to Poe's stories and life throughout the film to keep big EAP fans happy with the film's obvious attention to the object of their admiration.  But if you really want to see this film I'd suggest waiting until it comes out on DVD- it's not worth the money to see in theaters.

1 comment:

  1. I have to agree with your assessment of Cusack as Poe. I've never found him to be an extremely dynamic actor, and in this role he did not convince me *at all* that Poe was a tortured soul; rather just a little "blah." I found him boring. I also found his leading lady boring. And the murderer was boring. Poe's demise was also boring.

    That being said, I still enjoyed the overall mood of the film, and ironically, the film itself wasn't really boring. It was reasonably entertaining, but far from amazing. I won't watch it again, and I won't recommend it to my friends. But I will tell them that the goatee was pretty fabulous! ;)

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