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The Raven Theatrical ReviewJohn Delia
The storyline involves a serial killer that follows the works of Poe (John Cusack) in the staging of his deathly crimes. From the slicing of the bladed pendulum (The Pit and the Pendulum) to being buried alive (The Premature Burial) and a masked horseman running rampant in a party (The Masque of the Red Death) gruesome headlines continue to blaze in Maryland's biggest city. Poe, very disturbed over the brutal killings, joins forces with the local police detective Emmett Fields (Luke Evans) to help solve the mystery and catch the perpetrator of the ghastly murders. When Poe's romantic interest Emily (Alice Eve) gets kidnapped, things start to escalate pushing for a quick resolve.
Staged much like the Sherlock Holmes films with a dark mystery unfolding, The Raven moves along at an enjoyable pace. Director James McTeigue (The Matrix Trilogy) keeps his story shocking yet intriguing with several references to a handful of Edgar Allan Poe's works using his fine acting team to solve the crimes of a sadistic serial killer. Doing an excellent job of bringing the mid 1800's Baltimore to life with great sets and costumes, the story of fiction feels almost historical and biographical.
A perfect choice for Poe in looks and demeanor, John Cusack works his character into a frenzy trying to come to the bottom of the grizzly crimes fashioned from his short stories and poems. Resembling old photos of Poe, Cusack tips many alcoholic libations, questions witnesses and faces danger on the way to confronting the killer.
In support Luke Evans plays the adamant detective Fields to perfection with swagger, determination and realism. With Cusack the two are an American Holmes and Watson yet reversing roles from time to time. Giving the film a little flavor and fancy, Alice Eve as Emily takes on the damsel in distress getting her into the thick of the action. With measurable semblance to Lenore she crafts the love interest from Poe's poem The Raven into her character for extra nostalgia. Her performance as the buried alive Emily creates some intense moments that keep your heart racing.
The Raven has been rated R for bloody violence and grisly images, but not too much more than Sherlock Holmes. Although it does not have the intense explosive action of the Holmes's films this one sticks more to the mystery and gore of it all.
-- John Delia
Cast: John Cusack, Luke Evans, Brendan Gleeson, Alice Eve, Oliver Jackson-Cohen
Directed by: James McTeigue
MPAA Rating: R
Genre: Drama/Suspense, Horror
Running Time: 103 minutes
Distributed by: Relativity Media
For more information about The Raven visit the FlickDirect Movie Database. Artwork and photos ©Relativity Media. All Rights Reserved.
John Delia has been on all sides of the movie business from publications to film making, publicist to Assistant Director. He has been a film critic for 12 years and earned a Bachelors degree in communications from the University of Florida. He is listed in IMDb under his name JOHN DELIA. He free lances for a number of web magazines including FlickDirect. He is located in Florida in the Tampa Area. His interview with Benicio Del Toro received nearly 13,000 hits on youtube when Che opened and the interview with the unknown Bradley Cooper nearly 14,000 when The Hangover opened.He enjoys movie music, especially those from most Disney animated features.
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