.
the raven

The Raven

John Cusack, Alice Eve

Directed by James McTeigue
Rolling Stone: star rating
5 2
Community: star rating
5 2 0
April 26, 2012

There's a promising premise on the boil here. What if Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) spent the last days of his life trying to nab a serial killer who's been using macabre ideas from Poe's short stories to off his victims? The Pit and the Pendulum, anyone? OK, The Raven sounds like a TV series that gets canceled soon after its debut. But it has compensations, chief of which is John Cusack, who plays Poe with just the right blend of romantic longing and tortuous doubt.

Director James McTeigue (V for Vendetta), an assistant to the Wachowski brothers on The Matrix, pulls us in with the period atmosphere. A few days before his death, Poe was found on a park bench in Baltimore, babbling incoherently. So much for truth. Booze and syphilis reportedly contributed to Poe's demise. But the script, by Ben Livingston and Hannah Shakespeare, posits that he's been poisoned by a crazed fan who adores and loathes him in equal measure.

Cue the flashbacks and a feeble fictional story about how Poe's heiress fiancee, Emily Hamilton (Alice Eve), gets interred alive (The Premature Burial) and Poe labors to help police detective Emmett Fields (Luke Evans) find Emily before her breath runs nevermore.

None of this huggermugger generates much excitement. What drew me into the film most was the depiction of Poe's life as an impoverished poet, trying to make a few bucks by composing detective fiction while fiercely criticizing the work of other writers. In one scene, the anguished Poe wagers that at least one person in a pub will recognize him as an author, best known for "The Raven." Cusack captures that desperation vividly enough to make you wish this was the real Poe story, which The Raven onscreen leaves buried alive.

prev
Movie Review Main Next

ADD A COMMENT

Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...

COMMENTS

Sort by:
    Read More

    Movie Reviews

    More Reviews »
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.

    X

    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “Promiscuous”

    Nelly Furtado with Timbaland | 2006

    This club-oriented single featuring Timbaland, who produced Nelly Furtado's third album, Loose, was Furtado’s sexy return after the Canadian singer's exploration of her Portuguese heritage on Folklore. "In the studio, initially I didn’t know if I could do it, 'cause Timbaland wrote that chorus," Furtado said. "I'm like, 'That's cool, but I don't know if I'm ready to do full-out club.'" The flirty lyrics are a dance between a guy and girl, each knowing they will end up in bed together but still playing the game. "Tim and I called it 'The BlackBerry Song,' she said, "because everything we say in the song you could text-message to somebody."

    More Song Stories entries »
    www.expandtheroom.com