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Saturday, February 16, 2013

MooPig Movie Reviews :: "The Raven"

Only 4-4/10ths Stars out of Ten in the Reviews
Re-Sniped by Pat Darnell  |  Feb 14, 2013  |  Bryan TX

John Cusack plays Edgar Allan Poe as the American writer being plagiarized and euthanize'd.

The movie took a sniper hit when it came out a year ago and did not fair well. I watched The Raven for the first time today. The review is:
" ... Thinly scripted, unevenly acted, and overall preposterous, The Raven disgraces the legacy of Edgar Allen Poe with a rote murder mystery that's more silly than scary. (Rotten Tomatoes by Flixter. Apr 27, 2012. LINK) ... "
And, we could end our review right here. But, there is some stuff I want to say, regarding the American archetype writer, E. A. Poe.

Let's say this is three years later, and I am writing a review on The Raven, and remember very little about it, except back story on Edgar Allan Poe. It is not a mesmerizing movie, the film is not weird, disturbing, fascinating, entertaining, nor profound, for instance like The Master, but it points us toward an American phenomena.

That phenomena is "the path" many Americans take. It can be traced to Poe's life. Edgar Allan Poe had a thing for the aristocracy, but he didn't stick around to get the qualifications that would make him part of that scene. He chose rather to edify his street credit. He runs up gambling debts, joins the Army, returns to his adoptive parents, deliberately got kicked out of West Point, and basically lives the life of a rock star, all before he is twenty-two years old.

It resembles results today like our edgy outsiders, artists, recluses who are famous as outsiders, becoming insiders; the rebels become the giant bosses? It is the same for Poe in his day.

And I promise not to make it a "Did you know" slide into minutia. But how did we Americans not travel very far from a rock star archetypal life like E. A. Poe's?

For instance, in the movie, Poe is plagiarized by a serial murderer, who shall remain nameless. The villain uses Poe's short stories about macabre murders, to stage his own killings. This royally pisses off Poe in the movie, especially when the villain kidnaps his girlfriend, Emily, and buries her alive in a tunnel. She doesn't die.

Poe is the Baltimore Police's prime suspect in the series of murders, but it soon becomes evident he isn't the murderer, and he actually begins to help the police. It gets complicated and dicey, as one might expect, but there is no computer special effects, nor game console intelligence, nor SWAT team. As a matter of fact, the whole plot is about as emotionless as Vulcan poetry.

The plot depends on Poe's memory, as he is required to remember all of his writings, because the mysterious murderer leaves Poe's own words for clues written on pieces of paper. And, then Poe is required by the murderer to write like a sitcom author at Disney to come up with an 'impromptu story' about the current murders. This story is printed in installments in the Baltimore paper.

Spoiler: Poe [John Cusack] has to drink poison to save Emily's life.

I don't find this version of Poe's life anywhere; so it must be fiction script for the movie. The raven allusion in the title is not explained, nor his pet raccoon. We don't know in the closing scene how Poe is found on a park bench, half dead. But he dies at age forty in real life, due to unknown causes.

However, a model for American pop artists today, even after two centuries of American writing, Edgar Allan Poe is the first American rock star.

Out- out are the lights- out all!
And, over each quivering form,
The curtain, a funeral pall,
Comes down with the rush of a storm,
While the angels, all pallid and wan,
Uprising, unveiling, affirm
That the play is the tragedy, "Man,"
And its hero the Conqueror Worm.
(Edgar Allan Poe. EXCERPT  :: "The Conqueror Worm" (1843) )

That's what we got out of the movie for our 99 cents rental of The Raven DVD ... and it is all good for us.



d2r2 said...

This was the post which caught my attention and I wanted to respond with some weighty ideas about Poe and the strange fact/fiction story...but I forgot and I'm just saying I like John Cusack a lot.

Patrick Darnell said...

Thank you for your insightful comment, d2r2.

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