Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Raven

Relativity Media

Movie Review
By Holly Shanks of the Forum

The Raven brings Edgar Allen Poe’s
dark gothic catacomb of imagination to life
on the big screen and puts a new twist
on the last few days of his life.

Larry Horricks © 2011 Amontillado Productions, LLC. All rights reserved.

     The character of Poe is played by John Cusack and is loosely based on real life elements of the penniless poet who helped father the gruesome genre of horror in the 1800s. Poe died at the age of 40 under mysterious circumstances and his death has been debated since the poet took his last breath on October 7, 1849.

The Plot

Larry Horricks © 2011 Amontillado Productions, LLC. All rights reserved.
      A black raven, one of Poe’s calling cards, clings to a tree branch overlooking a man on a park bench and is suddenly interrupted by a woman’s chilling scream, sending the film to a whirling murderous start. The viewers are treated with a drunken and broke literary critic (Poe) who bounces from eccentric to troubled and soulfully tortured. 
     Poe’s love interest is the beautiful Emily Hamilton (Alice Eve) who is guarded from Poe by a protective father (Brendan Gleeson). The lovers secretly find happiness in each others arms and are about to live happily ever after until Emily gets kidnapped by the dark poetic figure that has seemingly sprang to life out of Poe’s inkpot and quill.   
    Poe finds himself trapped inside his own nightmarish macabre stories and bodies are turning up that met their deaths according to his imaginatively written plots. Searching for clues with Detective Fields (Luke Evans), Poe finds he must figure out the killers next moves and identity before time runs out for Emily and she becomes another one of his stories tragic endings. Unfortunately, Poe discovers the murderer just in time to trade his life for hers.  

Larry Horricks © 2011 Amontillado Productions, LLC. All rights reserved.

     The visual feel of the film is dramatically authentic looking right down to Poe’s corked liquor bottles and rich period inspired costumes and hairstyles. The sometimes gory and bloody crime scenes are reproduced straight from some of Poe’s classics such as “The Pit and the Pendulum” with the recognizable large heavy pendulum that swings back and forth, just as in Poe’s writing, agonizingly escalating the suspense of terror until it comes to a sudden stop with a sickening thud as it hits the wooden table beneath the back of its intended victim.
     Poe fans will not be disappointed by the rhythmic lyrical lines that encompass Poe’s trademark style spilling easily from Cusack’s lips. However, there is a mixture of not only poetic lines, but lighter more humanistic ones that convey a touch of humor sprinkled throughout that keeps the tenseness of the dark and dreadful near-death and corpse viewing sequences from engulfing the film. That mixture could be a plus or minus for the movie-goer depending on their Poe-like expectations.   

Larry Horricks © 2011 Amontillado Productions, LLC. All rights reserved.

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