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Published on April 26th, 2012 | by Genevieve Mc Bride

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The Raven

In this dark thriller, Edgar Allan Poe (John Cusack) is forced to assist a young detective to track down a mad serial killer when it becomes obvious that the inspiration for the murders are Poe’s own literary works.

This fictionalized account of the last days of Edgar Allan Poe’s life begins with the brutal murder of a mother and daughter. Inspector Emmett Fields (Luke Evans) finds something oddly familiar about the crime scene and his research leads him to a story written by Poe. A struggling writer on his way to becoming the local drunkard, Poe is brought in for questioning just as another murder is discovered, again one that mirrors one of the author’s grisly stories.

Because it’s his stories that the murderer’s recreating, Poe becomes Field’s reluctant assistant in hunting down the serial killer. But when it appears Poe’s fiancee (Alice Eve) may become the murderer’s next victim, the stakes become even greater, and now it’s the murderer who’s inspiring the writer and inventor of the detective story genre to do some of his best sleuthing work.

While the cat-and-mouse element of the movie kept me in suspense, the movie itself was void of the dark drama one would expect of a movie about Edgar Allen Poe, even a fictionalized account. Even with the detailed attention to the look of 19th century Baltimore, it wasn’t enough to help Cusack’s lightweight portrayal of Poe. Many times I wondered if Evans would have been better cast as the grim, moody writer.

What I actually appreciated most about the movie was the lyrical dialogue, the clever, poetic word usage of yesteryear. Although, there were some minor slips that made me wonder if the scriptwriter or actor forgot which century they were in. I did not have high expectations for this movie, so it truly did not disappoint. With a 111 minute runtime, “The Raven” has just enough mystery to keep one guessing, however it felt a bit rushed at the end. Up against more lively competition this weekend, this may be one to save for a DVD rental.

2.5 out of 5


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