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Monday, April 30, 2012

The Raven: Movie Review

As a mystery fan and writer myself, the name of Edgar Allan Poe is of great importance as he is the father of the American detective novel. So when I heard there was going to be a movie coming out where Edgar himself was a character I was intrigued.

In The Raven, we find an alcoholic Edgar, played by John Cusack, trying desperately to make some money with his writing as a critic as his inspiration to write his poetry and fiction seem to have dried up. Suddenly murders begin to take place mirroring his stories and the detective on the case recognizes them as such and seeks Edgar out, first as a possible suspect and then for assistance. Things go terribly wrong when the young woman Edgar is in love with is kidnapped by this killer and it is up to Edgar to save her.

I won’t give away any more of this plot because it is of course a mystery, and the fun is in discovering the clues and twists and turns as you go. I will say that I loved the little tidbits of true history about Poe thrown in this movie—I do believe most of the details about Poe were fairly accurate. However, I found Cusack’s portrayal to be less dark and brooding than Poe likely really was—this was a man who had lost everyone he loved to tragedy and whose darkness came through in his writing. Now I don’t know if Poe really had a raccoon as a pet, but it was a fun little bit anyway. Do keep in mind though, the story itself is fiction taken from a “what if” kind of take on his mysterious death.

The Raven had an enjoyable bit of history on the father of mystery along with a well done mystery plot, which I must admit I didn’t figure out until about the point where he and the detective did as well. My favorite character however was actually Detective Fields, played by Luke Evans who is quickly becoming one of my favorite actors (Immortals & Three Musketeers).

If you enjoy a good mystery, and especially if you are a fan of Edgar Allan Poe, The Raven is a must see!

Rated R for bloody violence and grisly images. Check out the trailer on IMDB, which is the official site for the movie.

Watch for more Edgar Allan Poe articles to celebrate the release of this movie when we return to our regular site!

The Raven is currently playing at the Dinuba Platinum Theatres, check their website for showtimes.

Lorie Lewis Ham is KRL's editor-in-chief/publisher. She has published in many venues through the years and has 5 published mystery novels. You can learn more about Lorie's writing on her blog Mysteryrat's Closet.


  1. I watched the trailer on YouTube. I'd like to see the movie. I think if you liked Robert Downey, Jr.'s Sherlock Holmes movies or From Hell (Johnny Depp as a detective searching for Jack the Ripper), you'd like this one.

    1. Actually, I didn't like Robert Downey Jr's Sherlock, but I did like The Raven. If you get out to see it I'd love to hear what you think.

  2. I've seen the trailers on TV and wondered why it needed to be so grisly. But the idea of Poe as a detective seems interesting for all the reasons you stated. I don't believe this compares to the Downey version, that's steampunk and way different, but very much in line with Depp's version.

    1. Maybe I've just seen too many grisly movies, but I didn't find it all that bad and I think it added to the needed darkness for any Poe story. I'd be interested to see what you think once/if you've seen it.