Wednesday, 23 May 2012

The Raven 2011.

The Raven.

It worry’s me greatly when two very intelligent young men, who views I normally respect, declare, during the Film Club’s discussion, that cinemas are no longer able to sell tickets for a good quality adult movie! They also informed us that the biggest market is for youth orientated movies and the ‘safe’ type of film that appeals to what’s referred to as the ‘grey pound’. The only reason for this ridiculous state of affairs is obviously brainwashing!  Indoctrinating the young popcorn demographic into accepting more and more second rate American unintelligent rubbish until they think this is all that’s on offer. A successful movie for the over sixty fives is know judged purely on whether or not they leave the cinema smiling? On leaving the cinema where I first saw The Deerhunter in 1978 I was in tears does this make it a bad film? Thankfully there are still filmmakers about, mainly from Britain and world cinema that can still make a descent imaginative, intelligent, challenging and creative movie.

This weeks Robert Burns Centre Theatre Film Club movie was The Raven (2012) and was hosted by one of the RBC’s young programmers James Pickering who wasted no time in getting through his introduction so the paying audience could get on with the film. An American thriller set in Boston in 1849, its a fictional account of the last days of Edgar Allan Poe’s life, in which the author, poet, editor and literary critic pursues a serial killer whose murders mirror those in Poe’s tales of mystery and the macabre particular The Murders in the Rue Morgue and The Pit and the Pendulum both of which have been made into feature films. 

John Cusack plays Edgar Allan Poe.

Directed by James McTeigue an Australian whose directorial debut was V For Vendetta (2006), before this he was an assistant director on various feature films including Star Wars II (2002) and The Matrix Trilogy (1999-2003). The rather puzzling Edgar Allan Poe, whose actual death was probably shrouded in more mystery than that shown in the film, was played by John Cusack who seems to have lost his way since great films like Being John Malkovich (1999), The Thin Red Line (1998) Grosse Pointe Blank (1997) and the award winning The Grifters (1990). The English actress Alice Eve, who you may remember from Starter for 10 (2006), plays Poe’s love interest Emily Hamilton with her father portrayed by Brendan Gleeson whose best role amongst many is Sergeant Gerry Boyle in the excellent Irish black comedy The Guard (2011), now there’s a film that makes you leave the cinema with a broad grin. Welshman Luke Evans (Tamara Drew 2011, The Blitz 2011, The Three Musketeers 2011) plays the dynamic Inspector Emmett Fields.

The murders mirror Poes stories.

As my esteemed colleague remarked if you suspend your disbelief The Raven is a moderately entertaining gothic thriller with some great period detail and was generally enjoyed by the film club audience. There were one or two reservations the main one being that the villain was not signposted as the film evolved and was not revealed until the very end, something that did not spoil my enjoyment of the film as I felt that is was more a study of Poe’s psyche than a murder mystery. We all agreed that language was used to great effect by the main character, enriching the film. It was compared with the two recent Sherlock Holmes films, which in my opinion were not as good, full of stupid and unnecessary banter between Holmes and Watson. The only thing that spoilt this film was the completely out of place end credit that would have been more at home included in a Bourne or Bond film and not in a period drama.

Thought you may be interested in this press article that involves the country that last weeks movie was set in, people should read this before they see the film! Yemen on brink of food crisis.

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