Monday, May 14, 2012

Cinema Babble: If Edgar Allen Poe was a PI

The Flick: The Raven

The Peeps: John Cusack, Brendan Gleeson, Alice Eve, Luke Evans, etc.

The Dealio: As if Edgar Allen is not having a bad enough year (or two)- out of work, money and favor- things just got a whole lot worse. Someone is killing people in Poe's own hometown of Baltimore, and using methods described in Poe's own tales. Naturally, the first suspect is (wait....wait...wait) the author himself. But with a series of alibis to match the dates of the killings, Poe is brought in to try to crack the case(s). Complicating the  situation even further, Poe has decided to make public  his secret engagement to the beautiful daughter of the one man in Baltimore who hates him a costume party where the copy-cat killer is vowing to make a huge, and very deadly statement. 

The Grading Session: 4.22 pengies out of 5. Cusack, on the whole, does a nice job of squelching his usual smart-aleck movie persona. But the   labored, depressing and grittiness-as-an-actual-character atmosphere of this movie is like lugging a damp, woolen blanket around town in summer. From the very first scenes of Poe/Cusack, sitting on a bench, staring up at the sky, as if seeking  a raven made out of clouds, we know that we will not be permitted to put that blanket aside for more than a few seconds. Whenever the going gets too frisky or  upbeat, prepare to witness yet another graphic atrocity committed in the name of plot-advancement. Still, a few very well placed glimpses into the workings of Poe's mind and imagination, as well as reminders of his surprisingly normal background (example? I remembered only after it was mentioned that he graduated from West Point. Yes, that West Point), kept me hanging in with the story till the very end. Your mileage may differ.

Lessons Learned: That really nice policeman/cohort who is behind you through thick and thin? He is either a dead man walking or the true bad hat. It's like a sort of rule. Also, Poe had a seriously disturbing imagination. No kidding! I keep trying to picture him switching genres to write a kids' book. Or, no! Wait! A  YA book. No, seriously, in that case, he would've  become a rock star among writers. Think about that for a moment. Lastly this: for a man with no money, scant friends and a (literally) hopeless attitude, how did Poe manage to rub shoulders with the high and mighty- and afford those nice duds? Answer: Hollywood!

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