Was the fictional account of Poe's final days a masterpiece, or a horror?
It should be known that I'm a huge Poe fan. Edgar is actually my favorite American author. I have won awards for reciting his works, I love this guy that much. So I think I'm qualified to say that this movie was spectacular!
Edgar Allen Poe is down on his luck. He can't seem to stay sober enough to produce another great story like The Raven or The Tale-Tell Heart. However, when a killer takes inspiration from Poe's dark mind for a string of killings, Poe becomes wrapped up in the case until eventually his love is kidnapped and the Killer challenges Poe to a duel of wits, his love the prize to be gained or lost. Now with the clock running out Poe must play a dangerous game of cat and mouse as he witnesses his own dark thoughts be brought to life before his very eyes.
The story takes place during the end of Poe's life, placing it in the year 1849. The movie excels with scenery background and outfits very well. Everything from the masquerade ball to the tunnels beneath Baltimore all looks very 18th century America. And of course I must say something about the level of gore whilst on appearances. There was not that much and the Raven is nowhere near being just a story-less gorefest. However, the parts that do contain blood are particularly gruesome as you might expect in a film where E.A. Poe is the main character. I particularly remember cringing during the Pit and the Pendulum scene as the swinging blade slowly cut a man in half.
John Cusack stars as Poe and does a spectacular job of playing the intellectual madman. Poe is a drunk maniac who can insult in Shakespearean, but soon he quickly descends into a full enraged lunatic obsessed with finding his girl. Nearly all the acting was impressive, though sometimes I thought the screaming got excessive. Of course, I've never been strapped to a table and about to die.
One of the things I loved about the Raven was its balance. It seemed to have an incredible blend of thrills, action, romance and the few bits of cringing at seeing an almost decapitated woman. In the theater I laughed, I sat on the edge of my seat in suspense, and I drew up in horror. The Raven did not disappoint and it never had a dull moment.
All in all, The Raven really did it for me. The scenery, the outfits, the acting, the mystery, the story, even the small references to Poe's life and works, everything came together to give me an incredible experience that I'd recommend to anyone.