This movie is set in the mid 1800s and involves poet Edgar Allan Poe. A serial killer is on the loose and murdering people using Poe's descriptions from his published stories and poems. Poe teams up with Detective Fields, a Baltimore policeman to try and catch the killer by using his knowledge of the descriptions. Even though the stories are fictional, they start to become reality and the killer is a step ahead of them. Then it takes on a personal note as Poe's lover becomes a target. Will they stop the killer in time?Written by
Michael Hallows Eve
This is a clever, well-made movie, but I think there are a couple of things that stop it from being better than it is.
The story is not dissimilar to David Fincher's "Seven", in that case it was killings inspired by the seven deadly sins while in "The Raven", a serial killer creates gory scenarios based on the stories of Edgar Allen Poe.
Inspector Emmett Fields, played by Luke Evans, while investigating a bizarre double murder, realises that it has a connection to a story by Edgar Allen Poe. He engages the author to help him find the killer. Poe, played by John Cusack, is hesitant at first, but soon throws himself into the hunt, forming an alliance with Fields.
The killer's true intentions become a little clearer when Poe's Fiancée, Emily, played by Alice Eve, is kidnapped. Kept in a coffin, she is tormented by her captor. Eventually, Poe works out who the killer is, and strikes a deadly deal in exchange for Emily's life.
I think John Cusack struggles to find the right balance for Poe. Admittedly, he is more settled in the role by the end of the movie, but he knocks it off balance with some early drunk scenes with lots of yelling; actors portraying people who are drunk are almost as annoying as people who are drunk. His performance is uneven, especially in his affection for Emily - he seems oddly unconvincing in some scenes although he says he would sacrifice his life for her. Luke Evans, with a far more understated performance, steals the show as Inspector Fields.
Visually brilliant, the film features ever more elaborate techniques to dispose of the killer's victims, The ingenuity and the amount of work involved would have required a crew the size of the one that built the Panama Canal, however, with a movie such as this, suspension of disbelief definitely helps with the enjoyment level.
For a while, I thought the identity of murderer was going to be either a disappointment or far too obvious, simply because not too many characters are introduced into the story; an unwritten rule of crime movies is that no one is introduced into a plot without reason. My fears were groundless; the ending works brilliantly, and is far more satisfying than is often the case.
Although "The Raven" has similarities to "Seven", it doesn't have the darkness or the hide-behind-your-finger's tension of that masterpiece of horror. With that said however, as serial killer movies go, "The Raven" is definitely a 'cut' above the average.
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