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Poems of gloom

Poems of gloom
If you are watching the film expecting an edgy thriller, The Raven sadly disappoints.

The premise is fantastic. The setting fabulous. And the cast gorgeous. It is in the plot that the director slips. The mystery behind The Raven is not that mysterious really. You are likely to figure out one scene before you know who the serial killer is. The gore, despite mutilated bodies, is also not something that pushes you deep.

For some strange reason, the director seems to have decided that quoting Edgar Allan Poe's verses in all their sombreness would do the trick. It is true that Poe's words at best are dipped in misery and death, but they certainly are not enough.  

But The Raven is one of those films that you could truly enjoy. McTeigue has taken a lot of care in rolling out the muted world of 19th century America. Masquerade balls, women in flouncy clothes and men in coats with tails, horse-drawn carriages... we are pulled into the charming past effortlessly.  

The story is a fictionalised narrative of the final days of Edgar Allan Poe; the director tweaks Poe's dark and troubled past and brings out a reluctant hero. Beautiful Emily Hamilton (Alice Eve), a Boston socialite breaks through Poe's indifference. But before they can convince Emily's father of their love, the killer strikes. He stages murders straight out of the scenes penned by Poe. Poe is forced into the dark world that he created to save Emily.  

John Cusack apparently was not the first choice to play Poe. He did, however, manage to bring out the arrogance of a misunderstood genius but his supposedly caustic comments – Poe took pleasure in antagonising important people – fall flat. Halfway through, you realise that the quiet conviction of Luke Evans, who plays Detective Fields, hellbent on stopping the maniac, is actually carrying the film through.
Jemima Raman

Jemima Raman

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