Tuesday, May 1
The Raven Review
I went to see THE RAVEN this past weekend, starring John Cusack, and afterwards I kind of had mixed feelings about it. The sets and costumes all looked good but Cusack's performance as Poe was lacking. I must admit I am a bit jaded, however... after seeing the Jeffrey Combs one man play NEVERMORE, in which Combs channeled the poet so completely he all but disappeared, not many actors could match up to such an incredible performance.
No attempt was made on the part of this film to even try and make Cusack resemble Poe, makeup wise, other than tussling his hair a bit and adding a goatee - and even that seems off, as in every photograph or illustration of Poe I've ever seen he sports a mustache but no beard of any type. Cusack didn't attempt to affect a southern accent either. He was simply Cusack in a period piece with facial hair.
The story was exactly what I expected from the trailer but I felt they could have had the murders tie into the stories better in some cases. The first couple were good, but they missed out on some real opportunities later on. The film also takes major liberties with the character of Poe, and that was to be expected, although turning him into an action hero instead of an alcoholic poet suffering from mental health issues was a bit much. The ending of the story used a lame gimmick that was unnecessary and silly.
Overall not a bad movie, still enjoyable, but it fell well short of what could have been. Just imagine if they had cast Combs in this role, made it a mystery instead of action thriller, and had him truly battle his inner demons and alcoholism instead of merely paying lip service to these issues at the beginning of the film then tossing them aside for the conclusion. Three out of 5 skulls.