The Raven (5/10)
by Tony Medley
The facts are
that Edgar Allen Poe killed himself in 1849 because he was, basically,
loony, and apparently unable to reconcile himself to the early death of
his wife in 1847 at the age of 24. However, even that relationship was
weird. They were first cousins and were married in 1835 when she was
only 13 and he was 26. It's been speculated that the marriage was never
consummated, but nobody knows. Anyway, those are the known facts.
Ben Livingston and Hannah Shakespeare have reimagined the last few days
of his life and created a fictional tale of what might have happened and
why he killed himself. Unfortunately, the story is so bizarre that it
doesn't leave one speculating on their thesis after seeing the film
because it's clearly nonsense.
They blend fact
and fiction and create a fictional serial killer who bases all his
crimes on Poe's macabre tales. The protagonists are Poe (John Cusack)
and detective Emmett Fields (Luke Evans) and the crime is the kidnapping
of Poe's fictional betrothed, Emily Hamilton (Alice Eve). Poe and Fields
are ostensibly trying to find Emily and the dastardly fellow or lady who
is killing all the people and who kidnapped Emily.
This could have
been a lot better were it not a semi-gothic horror film, marred by lurid
scenes like a man being cut in half that leaves nothing to the
imagination. The way Emily is treated is ghoulish. Director James
McTeigue seems intent to pull out all the stops to make the film
difficult to watch. Of course Poe was a writer who seemed to have no
compunction against shocking his readers, so maybe McTeigue's approach
is appropriate. Even so, I would have enjoyed the movie a lot more had
it not occasionally slipped into the horror genre.