Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) has fascinated me my entire life; an attraction/repulsion whose tentacles have permanently enslaved my lust for the macabre. His ghoulish, gruesome tales; the “stuff” of nightmares, reflecting his tortured spirit are offset by poetry so magnificently beautiful, spiritual that huge passages have resided comfortably in my memory bank.
John Cusack is credible as the crazed, alcoholic, desperate “Poe” frantically trying to save his beloved “Emily” (the beautiful Alice Eve) from a “copycat” murderer, who baffles, plagues police and Poe with his realistic reenactment of Poe’s most heinous stories (“The Pit and the Pendulum”, “The Murders in the Rue Morgue”, “The Cask of Amontillado”).
Director James McTeigue creates an eerie, murky 1849, Baltimore; horse -drawn carriages, fashionably dressed women whose hems mop the rain- streaked streets; mayhem in male- dominated newsrooms. He over indulges the “nevermore” reprise and plummets to the level of intellectual abuse the ubiquitous “craven raven”. But I was “never” bored and always intrigued, sometimes that is sufficient entertainment.
In his limited life Poe culled from the deepest reservoir of his imagination and beleaguered psyche powerful narratives redolent of the Spanish Inquisition, the Black Plague; pungently he capitalized on the human condition; fears, all shun in daylight, but trespass and haunt the darkness, gloom of uncontrolled dreams: buried alive, stalked by evil; Poe gleaned from his pen the blackest caverns of malevolence, giving them life, enhancing his literary legacy.
Whether we accept or deny the veracity of “all that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream” it is delectable cuisine for contemplation.
TWO & 1/2 STARS!!