What I'm Watching: The Raven
Rolling along the review train, our next stop is the box office bomb, The Raven.
I really wanted to get out to see this, since I'm a big fan of Poe, and I loved the idea of doing a sort of alternate take on a portion of his life where he's trying to solve a crime.
The DVD finally came out, and soe I got to see it!
I was not entirely disappointed. This is not a bad movie at all. It's not a great movie either, but fits firmly in my love of entertaining films that are a blast to watch, but not the greatest thing ever.
John Cusack as Poe is, quite frankly, awesome. Especially at the start of the film. He is HILARIOUSLY over the top, chewing scenery, and I just adore the performance he gives, his Poe thinking he is the smartest person in the room, and reminding everyone about it at every moment he can.
The plot concerns a series of murders that mimic a number of the deaths in Poe's own stories, so the police call him in as a possible suspect, but eventually use him as a consultant, since no one will know the material better. That's a great idea for a story, especially using the father of American horror and scifi, as well as giving the movie a number of good, gory deaths to play with. Because Poe was one dark, dark man.
The biggest flaw of the movie is that it sometimes takes itself too seriously, and the plot gets a *little* too clever for its own good. I like the twists and turns it takes, and everything turns out well enough in the end. It's complex, but makes a reasonable amount of sense.
I can easily see why this movie didn't do box office magic, but it should have gotten more respect than it did. It was a mostly enjoyable mystery with a great performance by Cusack, who is clearly the star here. And the actor he plays off of for most of the movie, his reluctant partner on the police force in Baltimore, gives an equally solid showing, keeping up with the often manic Poe.
I love that this movie exists, and is in my collection, but for everyone else, I'd say at least you have to watch it. Not a buy, necessarily, but worth the 90 minutes of your time.