Second Look: The Raven (2012)

The rare white snow that falls on his pale lifeless face does not melt as fast any more. The worry that once stormed his vivid heart has now been replaced by calm. The grey winter skies are ever sadder. They pity him, who sits beneath, waiting for his last breath to escape his almost white lips. Dark leafless branches that intertwine above start to shake slightly as raven flies by. Unfortunately, the end to it all has been written by him and him alone…

It has now been a while since The Raven was in cinemas, but sometimes some of us simply too busy in our daily life to afford an evening get-out to the movies. And despite that fact that this article is very out-of-date, the writer feels an itchy urge to say a few words about this truly amazing motion picture.

Despite the lack of twists, the film manages well to maintain the viewer’s excitement at its highest. Constant feelings of suspicion and unresolved mysteries play with your senses and frighten you like a strange nightly sound that just escaped from your dark back garden. The Raven is a serious film that would definitely be in much appreciation amongst the lovers of all things mysterious and unknown.

Besides the above, there was something in it that one may have never met before. Not only has the screenwriter’s fantasy simply amended Sir Edgar Allan Poe’s biography, but they tied the film’s story to other historic characters such as Jules Verne, for instance.

John Cusack has been a very successful choice of an actor for the leading role, in both behaviour and appearance. The rest of the cast, in my opinion, do adequately and, strangely enough, in some cases appear even brighter. But this most certainly does not overshadow the lead.

The villain, although he is not seen much during the film, is just as bright as Poe. Big, shiny, white teeth, large forehead and sly frowning eyes – he is almost a character from an animation. An escapist from a modern cartoon, I would say. Sam Hazeldine, a man with a rather extraordinary appearance, is nothing other than perfection in this role.

Every time Poe meets his sweetheart, one may easily trace an attempt in making the lead role sound funny. But that does not always work. The choice of humour is a very poor one, indeed, and thus the drollery stands unsuccessful.

The culmination hits the viewer very unexpectedly. It is a bit of a scare that dives deep in one’s mind. The very moment Poe lays his thin fingers on the newspaper note – the uncaught antagonist is finally revealed. Or so you might think! The logic digs its claws into you suddenly, but beware of any deceits. You may think the plot is crystal clear to you now, but is it so? The place where Poe publishes his writings is the place where he tragically ends his tireless life. The last five minutes are the treasure we have been dying to see. And just like a little black spider one meets on his way down to the old cellar, The Raven is a thriller and a fright that does not play out with ease. It is a masterpiece.

Vadim Milevskiy

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