Good, Bad & Ugly Review: The Raven

The Raven
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 22% (Critics) / 60% (Audience)
Directed By: James McTeigue
Written By: Ben Livingston and Hannah Shakespeare
Starring: John Cusack, Alice Eve, Ben Gleason and Luke Evans
Studio: Relativity Media

Synopsis: When a madman begins committing horrific murders inspired by Edgar Allan Poe’s works, a young Baltimore detective joins forces with Poe to stop him from making his stories a reality. (Source)

The Good:
John Cusack’s portrayal of Edgar Allan Poe was the strong point of this film. Cusack played Poe as an egotistical, overbearing, selfishly haughty auteur with a huge drinking problem and hit all those beats excellently. His best moments were when he showed the more combustible side of Poe. During those scenes his portrayal reminded me of Gene Wilder at his manic best.
I also appreciated that this movie didn’t shy away from depicting violence and seemed to embrace it’s R rating wholeheartedly in those scenes.

The Bad:
The pacing of this film just seemed off to me. There were long stretches of time that seemed to be about nothing and didn’t further the story in any meaningful way. I also thought the relationship between Poe and Emily was devoid of any chemistry.
And the villain of the piece was one of the most underwhelming I have ever seen on film. The idea of a serial killer with the flair to play a cat and mouse game with the authorities while basing his murders on works of fiction ending up being so pedestrian was just a total disappointment.

The Ugly:
Luke Evans was as emotive as a department store mannequin.

Final Verdict: The Raven is movie with a good concept that just suffered in the execution. Through weaknesses in direction, casting and acting the flaws of this film were just too great to ignore. The only saving grace was the spirited performance by Cusack but that was sadly not enough. C-

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