Sunday, May 20, 2012

That’s so bloody ‘Raven’

Versatile thesp John Cusack memorably portrays the celebrated poet Edgar Allan Poe in the crime thriller “The Raven,” an often-tense mingling of fact, fiction, and reinvention.

Creatively shedding light on the mysterious final days of the author, “The Raven” reimagines a reality where Poe’s dark tales are the basis for some gruesome crimes committed by an elusive figure. Recruited in the investigation by a by-the-books detective (Luke Evans), Poe must solve the puzzles left by his deranged reader and prevent other innocent victims from perishing horribly.

Directed by “V for Vendetta’s” James McTeigue, “The Raven” is pretty much a typical serial killer flick, albeit a compelling one set in a drearier period and involving an intriguing real figure. Poe here is a much-underestimated but unyielding character, a role mined properly by Cusack. Interestingly, the author’s dark works belie the man’s more optimistic and (alcohol-fueled) sunny demeanor, making him quite the beguiling paradox in this interpretation.

And the smart crime conundrum keeps those already jaded with slasher flicks rightly baffled. It gets pretty gory from time to time, repulsively establishing the inhumanity of the perpetrator, obsessed with the disturbingly imaginative art of the rather simple but influential author.

“The Raven” is an Ayala Cinemas exclusive opening on May 23.

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