I saw The Raven last weekend with Nicole. The Raven is a film about the last days of Edgar Allen Poe’s life/his death under suspicious circumstances in Baltimore in 1849. (I don’t consider that a spoiler as they tell you he dies in the first few seconds of the film). The film is fictional, though it uses some real characters and situations (the fake part is the murders, y’all. And possibly his pet raccoon, I don’t know if he really had one. Though that seems like a weird detail to make up).
I’ve always liked Poe’s poems. The Raven (the poem) has always been one of my favs, and I think I had it memorized at one point in my middle school years when I thought about being a Goth.
The movie was good, though strange. While Poe is an interesting historical figure (Father of the short story! Married his 13-year old cousin! Might have had a pet raccoon!) I didn’t think he was interesting enough to have a movie. In real life I think he mostly sat around and drank a lot, and wrote scary poems/stories, probably while sitting alone, drunk, in a dark room. Being a writer is not usually very interesting. I guess that’s why they added all those murders to the movie.
The movie follows Poe, played by John Cusack, as he races to solve crimes (murders), which were inspired by his macabre poems and short stories. The other main character I guess is Detective Fields, played by Luke Evans. Fields is a Baltimore detective who joins forces with Poe to stop the madman perpetrating these terrible crimes.
The Raven was…good? I mean, Poe is a weird main character. He seemed like a total 1800’s hipster. He was always drunk, had a flask, dressed in fancy dark clothes, had a pet raccoon, and whined that the plebs in America didn’t understand his poetic soul. At one point in the film his house burns down and he is walking around Baltimore (which I kept thinking was London, because this is a classic Jack the Ripper type slasher movie) all sad with his pet raccoon in what looks like a cat carrier, and I started thinking, “Edgar Poe and his pet raccoon Karl, fighting crime all across America!” Which was kind of what the movie was, but less fun.
I did like the movie. I must say it’s in the weird position of being a total hoary old chestnut of a Jack the Ripper VS. Sherlock Holmes knock-off while also managing to be completely different. It’s like a mad-lib of a Jack the Ripper VS. Sherlock Holmes film (replace the character of Holmes with Poe! Watson with Fields! Jack the Ripper with some random stalker! Switch London for Baltimore! Replace prostitutes with people Poe knows!). I guess all slasher films are essentially the same, with one gimmick replaced by another every few decades; all they really have to do is pile up a decent body count, splash around some gore, and have the hero/final girl brood a lot and solve crime (which this film totes does).
Would I recommend this movie? Well, it was fun to see some of Poe’s scary stories being played out on screen, and I thought Cusack did a good (entertaining) Poe. I really liked Luke Evans as Detective Fields (he was intense and brooding and a good policeman, which is rare in most detective stories, ones from the 1800’s especially). Only one of the murders was really gory (but it was the murder based on the Pit and the Pendulum so it was super gross).
The ending was kind of random and tacked-on feeling. Much like the ending of this blog post.