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Screen » Film

Nevermore!: A premature burial is only fitting for The Raven

John Cusack stars as Edgar Allen Poe in the newest film The Raven.

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The makers of The Raven would like you to believe that Edgar Allen Poe spent his final days helping police capture a killer who was using Poe’s works as inspiration and, in doing so, saved the love of his life Emily, for whom he wrote the poem Annabel Lee.

The plot uses some of the real-life mysteries from Poe's final days to form the backdrop of a fictional tale. Filmed in Serbia and Hungary, Raven looks cool, but that’s about it.

Let’s face it; John Cusack is not really an actor. He is just John Cusack. There’s no discernable difference between his former roles and Poe with the exception of more hair and a goatee. Cusack’s Poe could have cranked up the turmoil and debauchery; he was an alcoholic and opium addict for chrissakes!

The poorly written script is relentlessly ridiculous. At one point we see a newspaper headline referring to a madman “serial killer. " Yet this phrase wasn’t coined until the likes of Ted Bundy.

While there’s plenty of torture, what’s missing is the torment.

Consider that, at age 40, Edgar Allan Poe was discovered on a Baltimore park bench, incoherent and delirious. He died in a hospital a few days later. How he got that way and what he babbled about is a mystery, with theories concentrating on Poe's personal torment and addiction to opiates, his cholera, heart disease, rabies, suicide attempts, tuberculosis, syphilis and other assorted traumas. The dude was messed up. We see nothing resembling that tormented soul here.

The Raven is a fairy tale filled with halfwit intellectualizing and downright bastardization of Poe and his masterpieces. The killer wants Poe to write gory stories again, his killing spree fueled by his love/hate relationship with Poe’s work. Supposedly this intellectual blackmail breaks Poe’s case of writer’s block, forcing him to come out of semi-retirement to write fresh installments of the new crimes being committed. Too bad the writers of this travesty busted through their own creative barricade.

Having read most of Poe’s stuff a few times, I have always been a big fan and even more so one of HP Lovecraft. I swear to God Hollywood had better leave him alone. Wait…who am I kidding?

The Raven

1 Star

Starring John Cusack, Luke Evans, Alice Eve, Brendan Gleeson

Directed by James McTeigue

Rated R

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