Anyone with an interest in detective stories would surely have heard of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes or Agatha Christie’s Poirot, but who ever hears mention of the writer widely considered to be the inspiration for them both, namely Edgar Allan Poe (1809–1849) and his French detective C. Auguste Dupin.
Therefore, it was interesting watching Edgar Allan Poe given the Sherlock Holmes treatment in The Raven, which gives a fictional account of Poe using his intellect to help Detective Fields (Luke Evans) track down a serial killer, whose been committing gruesome murders inspired by Poe’s macabre tales.
John Cussack admirably portrays Poe, a tormented genius with an enormous appetite for horror, and we hear many literary references to his work running throughout the film, such as The Masque of the Red Death, The Premature Burial and The Pit and the Pendulum. In an ironic twist of life imitating art, at one stage Poe says he feel like one of the characters in his own books, echoing the sentiment of the last line of his poem The Raven, which states:
“Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?”
In his life, as in the movie, Edgar Allan Poe never received the full credit he deserved for being the inventor of the detective genre when he published a trilogy of stories about an amateur deductive reasoner who helps the police solve crimes. Many years after Poe’s death, in the first Sherlock Holmes story, “A Study in Scarlet” (1887), Doctor Watson compares Holmes to Dupin, to which Holmes replies, “No doubt you think you are complimenting me ..In my opinion, Dupin was a very inferior fellow,” despite the fact Doyle previously had acknowledged Poe’s influence on his writings.
Admittedly, Holmes was the superior fella but it was still entertaining watching this movie and seeing Edgar Allan Poe getting a little of the limelight he richly deserves.
A Raven Good Watch
- Rated: R
- Mystery, Thriller
- Release Date: 3/9/2012
- Directed by: James McTeigue
- Starring: Alice Eve, Brendan Gleeson, Ian Virgo, John Cussak, Kevin McNally, Luke Evans, Pam Ferris, Sam Hazeldine, Sergej Trifunović
- Produced by: Aaron Ryder, Marc D Evans, Trevor Macy
- Written by: Ben Livingston, Hannah Shakespeare
- Studio: FilmNation Entertainment, Intrepid Pictures, Relativity Media