The Raven (James McTeigue, 2012)
I had a review of The Raven written a couple of weeks after I watched it. Most of one, anyway; by the time a couple of weeks had passed, I’d forgotten enough that I knew I needed to go back and re-watch a few scenes in order to make sure I had certain facts straight. But the fact that after such a short time I had forgotten so much about the movie was telling, and informed that review. Then my computer ate it. And so here I am starting it again, months later, after I have rewatched those scenes in order to fill in the blanks. Now I have the opposite problem; I’ve forgotten most of that initial review. But I can guarantee you that the new one will be equally informed by how much I had forgotten about The Raven so quickly after watching it.
Plot: a serial killer in pre-Civil War-era Baltimore is patterning his crime scenes after the stories of Edgar Allan Poe. The police, of course, seek Poe (Say Anything…‘s John Cusack) out and initially consider him as suspect, but a rising star in the department, Detective Fields (Clash of the Titans‘ Luke Evans), takes a different approach and enlists the mystery writer as a consultant. Which is all well and good until the serial killer sets his sights on Poe and his lady love Emily Hamilton (Star Trek: Into Darkness‘ Alice Eve).
It’s all quite pretty, in the same way as McTeigue’s earlier hit V for Vendetta, but also like that movie, the longer we go since I see the movie, the less I remember about it other than how well-shot it is. The mystery angle is entirely generic, save for its historical angle, and there are no twists you won’t see coming a mile away. The cast assembled for this movie is quite good—the woefully underutilized Brendan Gleeson plays the precinct captain, for example, and he was the reason I finally decided to sit down and watch the movie—but none of them, including Cusack and Eve, do anything to make me remember why exactly this cast is so good. If nothing else, losing the review and needing to rewrite it has confirmed my original rating of the film, perhaps even reaffirmed it. It’s a supermodel—pretty, but utterly forgettable once you spend some time with it. * ½