DIRECTOR James McTeigue WRITER Hannah Shakespeare; Ben Livingston STARS John Cusack; Alice Eve; Luke Evans CINEMA 9 March
Predictable and by no means groundbreaking, should another actor have been elected to star, I suspect The Raven would be much less entertaining than this end result. John Cusack as Edgar Allan Poe, in this fictionalised account of his last days, however, is immensely watchable, portraying the fine balance between arrogance and charm with (perhaps too much) ease. His delivery is laugh-out-loud amusing, while the grammar Nazis amongst us will be particularly pleased with one moment.
Saying that, this is not a particularly good film. It is not a piece of work designed for repeat viewings; all nuances — and there aren’t many — will already have been digested with ease in the first round. This is a horrible shame, considering the calibre of the man himself. An entirely inappropriate soundtrack irritates, whilst a largely simplistic script really ought to have given Poe more opportunity to shine. The Raven is downgraded to a bog-standard thriller, our central character ultimately becoming irrelevant in a dash to the line, where more emphasis on the darkness of the tales the film’s murderer is basing his kills around would have been so much more artistic.
Still, for throwaway fun, you could see a lot worse at your local multiplex. Correct the damage with a good couple of days of reading after.