Imagine the style and look of Guy Richie’s Sherlock Holmes movies applied to a period piece murder mystery not unlike Se7en. That’s what you’re getting with The Raven.
A killer is on the loose in Baltimore. Each of his kills is different, but they all have one thing in common – each is modeled after a grizzly murder as written in Edgar Allen Poe’s graphic stories. When the lead detectives make this connection, the washed-up poet Poe (John Cusack) is brought in to help decipher the clues that may eventually lead them to the psychotic killer.
Seeing the gruesome details of his mind realized with innocent townsfolk, Poe wants nothing to do with the investigation, but it’s when the unknown killer kidnaps his forbidden lover (Alice Eve) that Poe puts everything he can into the investigation. The cat and mouse game that ensues between the two is smart and playful. If Poe wants to see his lovely girlfriend ever again, he must write fictional stories about each of the killer’s victims and have them run on the front page of Baltimore’s largest newspaper. After each story is printed, a new clue is given to her whereabouts – that is, if she’s still alive.
For the most part, The Raven is rather serious, but it’s never boring. The hunt that Poe goes on is filled with twists and turns. The screenplay is smart, giving you just enough to play along, but not enough to make the answers obvious.
Most of the critical reviews out there are bashing The Raven, but if you enjoy a good murder mystery, there’s no reason why you wouldn’t like it. If you’ll but give it a chance, I promise you’ll find it much better than most critics are giving it credit for.
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