And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor....Shall be lifted - nevermore!
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore.
"Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou," I said, "art sure no craven,
Ghastly grim and ancient raven wandering from the Nightly shore -
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night's Plutonian shore!"
Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."
"- Edgar Allan Poe, The Raven
Despite what some critics have said about the film, I can honestly say that I found The Raven to be one of the best films of the first half of the year. The film deserves a lot more credit than its receiving and it's quite a shame that it's being bashed for such harsh reasons. To call it a disgrace to Edgar Allan Poe's name is a bit obscure because as a fan of Poe I can admit that this was an awesome effort at bringing the character to the big-screen, in a bizarre and fictional way of course. Now I'm calling it a masterpiece, but it's at least a piece of cinema we can all appreciate on its own entirety.
The Raven might be a hard pill to swallow for some because the idea of taking a literary-figure and throwing him into a fictional detective-tale is, yes, stupid and totally something Hollywood wouldn't think twice about doing. Surprisingly, however, The Raven is more thought-out than it looks and it's actually far from as stupid as it could have turned out. The film watches its steps and does its best not to destroy anything in the real-life timeline of Poe, while at the same time keeping the audience entertained through it's completely false and fictional premise, one in which I enjoyed completely.
Far from excited I was when I first saw the trailer for the movie. I was in the same boat as many, calling the film stupid and totally shying away from curiosity, because I didn't care one bit. I wasn't interested in watching a movie turn Poe into a crime-fighting detective, but when I saw the movie a wave of surprise came over me. I had found myself sitting in the most compelling film of the year so far, not just because of the film's intriguing mystery, but because of the characters created to the screen.
The Edgar Allan Poe in this movie, played by John Cusack isn't the same Poe you might expect. The character could have been a lot darker but for what it's worth this is the best they could have done for a film like this. The storyline is complex and the tone of the film is dark and fairly serious. Cusack's Poe is a good attempt at what could have been great but I was still happy it was he playing the role, only because Cusack worked his finest at playing the character and also not destroying the real-life figure at the same time. There will be no Oscar-throwing at John Cusack, but he at least deserves a little more praise than he's been getting.
The film is a bloody-mess. Yes, I mean this in a good way. The film isn't afraid to show a little blood and gore, which is exactly why I enjoyed it so much. From the trailers up until the moment I bought my ticket I had assumed The Raven was PG-13. It wasn't until I saw a scene about half-way through that I realized this was an R-rated mystery/crime/gore-fest that I walked into. The Raven doesn't have any light humorous tones to it, which is good because the darkness is all in good nature. The set-pieces here are excellent, the use of fog, while a little corny for me, blends in perfectly as well. The Raven has a fine look to it, and even that hasn't been mentioned by critics, which baffle me because it's something worth talking about.
Overall, The Raven is the not only a great film but the most underrated one of 2012 so far. It falls from greatness along the lines but it's still a film close to perfection. Call it a guilty-pleasure if you will but this is something I can see myself enjoying just as much the second-time around. I found myself so involved with the film's storyline that when the credits rolled it hit me like a smack in the face that it was actually over. Don't miss this because of what you've heard, see it so you can think of it on your own terms. The Raven is definitely one worth checking out.
Thanks for the read!
-Written by Corey Wood