The RavenFeature Film | James McTeigue By John Wilson
Quoth the raven, “meh.”
The details surrounding Edgar Allan Poe's last days are murky at best, but the filmmakers behind The Raven speculate wildly, concocting a murder mystery with a serial killer whose crimes are inspired by Poe's macabre writings. John Cusack is annoyingly miscast as the sullen, alcoholic author who gets drawn into Baltimore police inspector Emmett Fields' (Luke Evans) investigation of the killer who has kidnapped Poe's wife-to-be, Emily Hamilton (Alice Eve). Visually, the film is on point, which is no surprise considering director James McTeigue's previous work on V for Vendetta and The Matrix. However, screenwriters Ben Livingstone and Hannah Shakespeare's script is frustratingly uncreative and formulaic. Poe's writings were twisted, depraved, and most importantly, unique, yet The Raven is rote, predictable, and lazy. It's too bad, because the premise had such potential—one hears "Poe" and "murder mystery" and the possibilities are endless. Uninspired performances from Cusack (who, I admit, I hate in everything that's not Being John Malkovich) and Hilary Swank lookalike Alice Eve further doom the film, though Evans and a feisty, bearded Brendan Gleeson as Emily's father turn in admirable efforts. The Raven could've been a devilish, entertaining historical fiction in the vein of Tim Burton's Sleepy Hollow, but it ends up just being hollow.
|The Raven Trailer|