Beautifully filmed, but this movie lacked utterly in soul and chemistry. Like the Lorax, Poe’s works are as much about their language as their subject. The Raven missed the feeling of both, opting for more of a period drama and relying on the viewers familiarity with Poe’s work rather than creating the creepy and out of control feel of madness he did so well.
Cusack (Martian Child, Choke, 1408, Cradle Will Rock) is the reason I came to this film. I wasn’t convinced a riff on Poe was a good idea after what Ritchie and Downey did to Sherlock Holmes, but I like his work. Unfortunately, he and Eve (Decoy Bride, Starter for 10) have absolutely no chemistry, though each chews up the scenery in different ways and at different times. Without their obsessive love to drive the film, however, none of it makes any sense nor do we care about the outcome.
And Evans (Immortals, The Three Musketeers, Clash of the Titans, Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll) either has a brilliant agent who helps him earn money but cares not a whit for the craft, or he has a horrible agent that gets lucky with hits and has no clue about the craft. He is not horrible in this film, but he’s a little too pretty, a little too sharp, and little too something that I just couldn’t define. Suffice to say, he doesn’t quite fit. There is talent buried somewhere in him, but no one has tried to really get it out yet.
The mess of this film surprised me given that McTeigue (V for Vendetta) was at the helm. And while his eye for art direction and style is in full force, the script and story just didn’t rise to the promise of his earlier triumph. I can’t say I finished it angry that I’d watched (thus the 3 stars), but it is a very weak recommendation at best, and mostly for the camera work and the costumes. Though there is also the stretched possibility of a drinking game trying to identify the Poe stories before they are mentioned. If neither of these approaches intrigue you, move along to another film and don’t waste your time.