Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

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October 17, 2012

‘The Raven’ more poetic than critic majority

DVD Review

Pauls Valley, Oklahoma — While the freedom to express one’s opinion is one of America’s greatest rights, perhaps even more joy can be expressed in telling some of the critic elite to stuff a sock in it. I certainly find no problem in sharing one’s thoughts if they do not like something, but when it comes to reviewing cinematic works, I wonder how often our expectations on how we would have done things differently interferes with what we actually think of the final result.

I would agree that the ending of today’s reviewed piece might have improved slightly with more punch to the final resolution, but as far as falling flat, I’d have to say those feeling so might miss the point of the character portrayed. Sure, it might have seemed in the previews heading toward a Downey Jr. Holmes action path, but given the moody personality of the inspired author, it actually balances out with appropriate prose. “The Raven” may not be on my must have or watch again soon list, but it’s hardly deserving of the quote, “nevermore.”

From someone who spent a few English classes reading the works of Edgar Allen Poe (as portrayed this time by John Cusack), it’s much more of a tie into the man’s overall works than I would have expected. In fact, a clever teacher or few might even find a way to use this tale’s plot point of a series of murders inspired by Poe’s most grisly tales to inspire their own students to read the woven poetry.

Much like Poe’s work, it’s all the fun of fiction, with the story starting in 19th century Baltimore Maryland with the first of the murders investigated by Inspector Emmett Fields (Luke Evans). Poe is pretty much penniless and a drunk at this point, but it isn’t long before he is enlisted due to the connection to his stories. Unfortunately for him, the killer drives the stakes up with the kidnapping of Poe’s love Emily Hamilton (Alice Eve) and forces a race to solve the crimes before the consequences consume them all.

After the final scene, audiences have actually been presented with an interesting spin on the last days of the real man himself, with the cause of his death still in debate. And why not, Poe has in many respects received credit for helping create the detective genre.

With the violence a bit gory in a few spots it’s not exactly a family friendly flick, but it’s good for adults into mystery thrillers. The only thing I wish the first run DVD’s had was at least a few extras like a making of featurette. For at least making it worth sitting through once my final verdict for “The Raven” is three and a half out of five pendulums.

DVD rental courtesy of Family Video of Pauls Valley.

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