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"The Raven" a movie based on Poes stories.

Updated on May 1, 2012

Cousin Edgar


Poe in film

Edgar Allen Poe's life and death was as much of a mystery as his short stories were, so mixing them together to formulate a new movie did not seem to be such a far fetched idea.About two years ago, I took a course on Poe at the graduate level and was fascinated by his macabre story lines and user of the unreliable narrator. The unreliable narrator is a narrator is a character whose credibility has been seriously compromised, through mental illness, delusions or another feeling of mistrust that can be detected by the reader or the viewer of a story in film.

It was only recently that I found EA Poe to be an ancestor of mine on my paternal grandfathers side of my family, so it seemed appropriate that I view the movie entitled "The Raven" which explored his last days in a fictional style that Poe himself might find flattering. Poe is played by John Cusack and was believable in physical features in the role he is cast. The producers and writers, while taking liberties with the storyline, craft a "Poe-esque" tale of murder and mayhem within days of Poe's real demise and create a character based on many attributes Poe was known to exhibit. The fact that they use his stories as the basis for many of the murders has Poe acting as detective in solving the mystery that unfolds in the film, up to and including his demise on the bench in Baltimore and his propensity for indulging in libations of the alcoholic sort.

Critics have been divided as to the show's success and many have mentioned the gore and the violence was a but Halloween-ish for its April 27th opening. As a viewer who does not like blood and gore movies, this had me covering my eyes several times in the theater from the sheer intensity of the scene depicted. Others who enjoy these sort of movies with find the film average in its use of dramatic blood letting.

The best that can be said about the movie is the originality of the concept, of making the author of these tales part and parcel of the action. Little has been discovered in how Poe met his demise and why he was found stumbling and babbling the name "Reynolds" as he walked amidst Baltimore streets before his death. This movie offers the viewer one fictional representation, based on insufficient facts that might explain the fall of the author, one thing is for sure, it will keep you guessing til the very end.


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