October 23, 2014
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The Raven
Don Fowler
4 stars
Reviewer's Rating:

(Poe period piece mystery)

If you are familiar with the Edgar Allen Poe mystery short stories, you will love The Raven.

John Cusack plays Poe with a vengeance, emphasizing his strengths and weaknesses while trying to solve a "copy-cat" killer on the loose in the streets of Baltimore in the mid-1800s.

We first, and last, meet Poe sitting on a park bench at the edge of death. The scene switches to a local bar, where the desperate, unappreciated poet/short storywriter is trying to get a drink.

Poor Edgar has writer's block, can't sell his stuff to the local papers, and is driven away from the woman he loves (Alice Eve) by her father.

Poe has written some great short stories but has not yet been recognized along with his contemporaries, like Emerson. That is, until a series of gruesome murders copy those he has invented in stories like "The Pit and the Pendulum" and "The Tell Tale Heart.”

Poe joins the police detective (Luke Evans) in an attempt to solve the crimes. The plot thickens when his beloved Emily is kidnapped and buried alive in a coffin.

Can Poe and the detective save her in time? Can the crimes be solved and the perpetrator be caught? It all makes for an intense, exciting and even funny tale.

An interesting side to the story revolves around the unsophisticated methods used in police work. There was no CSI or DNA or even fingerprints to catch the killer, just the sharp eye and experience of the detective and the writer.

The Raven, taken from the title of Poe's most famous poem, is a fun movie with lots of twists and turns, including the eventual discovery of the villainous murderer. Rated R, with a few very gruesome scenes.


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