UK Release date: 9th March 2012
Watched on Sky+ Monday 18th March 2013.
PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE UNINTENTIONAL SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.
To be honest, I can’t remember how this one ended up on my ‘To See’ list, but it is definitely there. I guess I must have been intrigued by the premise of it all. Sadly it doesn’t quite live up to expectations, but it does have a few good points amongst all the bad stuff on show. Here’s a very brief summary before I tell you just what I’m talking about.
The opening title card states “On October 7, 1849, Edgar Allan Poe was found, near death, on a park bench in Baltimore, Maryland. The last days of his life remain a mystery.” And this film gives an account of one of the many possible scenarios’ that lead to him sitting there. A series of murders based on Poe’s work have been committed and Edgar Allan Poe (John Cusack) himself is brought in to assist Detective Fields (Luke Evans) in his investigation. The gruesome murders are used initially to get Poe’s attention but then his fiancée, Emily Hamilton (Alice Eve) is kidnapped and things take a much more sinister turn. The following set of murders give clues to where Emily might be hidden… But can they unravel them in time? I think I’ll leave it there; don’t want to give the game away now.
On the plus side, it’s a pretty well made film with all the technical stuff, costumes and sets done very well. On the downside, the dialogue is terrible with everyone trying to sound like they’re straight from a Poe story or poem; it really didn’t work for me I’m afraid. This did have one positive side effect though; it gave John Cusack the opportunity to do some excellent scenery chewing over-acting; which I found quite funny in places. Sadly it’s a film that promised much but failed to deliver. I found I had no connection with any of the characters. I have not read much Poe and so I didn’t get many of the many nods to his work. Over all; quite disappointing.
SteelMonster’s verdict: NOT RECOMMENDED
My score: 5.3/10.
IMDb Score: 6.3/10 (based on 41,775 votes when this review was written).
MetaScore: 44/100: (Based on 30 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).
Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 47/100 (based on 98,688 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
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Edgar Allan Poe: What's going on?
Detective Fields: I'm Detective Fields. Please, sit down, Mr. Poe.
Edgar Allan Poe: Yes. The infamous Detective Fields. Am I under arrest?
Detective Fields: No... not just yet.
Edgar Allan Poe: Then I'd rather stand! It makes it easier to leave!
Maddux: I believe that God gave him a spark of genius and quenched it in misery. But as far as something like this... The only thing he's ever killed is a bottle of brandy.
Edgar Allan Poe: Her innocence was the first part of her soul to die.