The Raven (2012)


THE RAVEN by Edgar Allen Poe

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore —
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
“’Tis some visiter,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door —
Only this and nothing more.”

Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December;
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow; — vainly I had sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow — sorrow for the lost Lenore —
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore —
Nameless here for evermore.

And the silken, sad, uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me — filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating
“’Tis some visiter entreating entrance at my chamber door —
Some late visiter entreating entrance at my chamber door; —
This it is and nothing more.”

Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
“Sir,” said I, “or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,
That I scarce was sure I heard you” — here I opened wide the door; ——
Darkness there and nothing more.

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before;
But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, “Lenore?”
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, “Lenore!” —
Merely this and nothing more.

Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.
“Surely,” said I, “surely that is something at my window lattice;
Let me see, then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore —
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore;—
‘Tis the wind and nothing more!”

Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a stately Raven of the saintly days of yore;
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door —
Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door —
Perched, and sat, and nothing more.

Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore,
“Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,” I said, “art sure no craven,
Ghastly grim and ancient Raven wandering from the Nightly shore —
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night’s Plutonian shore!”
Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”

Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,
Though its answer little meaning — little relevancy bore;
For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
Ever yet was blessed with seeing bird above his chamber door —
Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door,
With such name as “Nevermore.”

But the Raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
Nothing farther then he uttered — not a feather then he fluttered —
Till I scarcely more than muttered “Other friends have flown before —
On the morrow he will leave me, as my Hopes have flown before.”
Then the bird said “Nevermore.”

Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
“Doubtless,” said I, “what it utters is its only stock and store
Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful Disaster
Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore —
Till the dirges of his Hope that melancholy burden bore
Of ‘Never — nevermore’.”

But the Raven still beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird, and bust and door;
Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore —
What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous bird of yore
Meant in croaking “Nevermore.”

This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom’s core;
This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining
On the cushion’s velvet lining that the lamp-light gloated o’er,
But whose velvet-violet lining with the lamp-light gloating o’er,
She shall press, ah, nevermore!

Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
Swung by seraphim whose foot-falls tinkled on the tufted floor.
“Wretch,” I cried, “thy God hath lent thee — by these angels he hath sent thee
Respite — respite and nepenthe, from thy memories of Lenore;
Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe and forget this lost Lenore!”
Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”

“Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil! — prophet still, if bird or devil! —
Whether Tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted —
On this home by Horror haunted — tell me truly, I implore —
Is there — is there balm in Gilead? — tell me — tell me, I implore!”
Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”

“Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil! — prophet still, if bird or devil!
By that Heaven that bends above us — by that God we both adore —
Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,
It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Lenore —
Clasp a rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore.”
Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”

“Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend!” I shrieked, upstarting —
“Get thee back into the tempest and the Night’s Plutonian shore!
Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!
Leave my loneliness unbroken! — quit the bust above my door!
Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!”
Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”

And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon’s that is dreaming,
And the lamp-light o’er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted — nevermore!

———-

I just saw the elusive movie, allegedly in ways that possible to me since its never intended for international audience (which is suck, I do read Poe you know!). But I wish the DVD come up sooner so I could watch it all over again. You know the thing about John Cusack movies with Malaysian audience? The only thing people associates him with is  that 2012 (2009) movie. I haven’t even watch it since I’m waiting for my 24th birthday to come up (which is by the way on 20th December 2012) and watch it all by myself to consider the irony of it.

I do enjoy Cusack’s movies since 90s when I was in grade school. He had this sort of poetic emotion going on with his characters and he’s like Keanu Reeves and Johnny Depp except being a much better actor (no one watch Being John Malkovich is it?). Plus Edward Norton looked just like him, so I guess its a plus.

Actually, when I first gotten my Kindle, the movie was one of my ad screensaver. I really want to watch it but then but no sign of it in my theaters. Bummer.

Most of the time, it wasn’t about watching a pseudo-biography of the famous author, instead my motives was absolutely selfish….

I always think of him being nice brooding looking and all but when you hear the intonation of his masculine voice and every features on his facade. Fuh…. all I can say is that I’m officially in lust with Luke Evans. I’m not sure about him personally but when he pull his serious acting mask on, he is absolutely breathtakingly awesome.

So finally, I get to watch the movie and so far, I like this movie better than the book I’ve just finished this afternoon.

The Raven is a mystery thriller and fictionalized biography set in 19th century America around Edgar Allen Poe’s last moment on earth where he face off a serial killer who was an obsessive fan of his who became inspired by Poe’s writings and used it to kill random victims. It is as an effort to attract the attention of his author to write again by kidnapping Poe’s fiance and leaving clues on more dead bodies with threats of her death. There was a longish summary about the movie in wiki if you’re curious about the movie plots which is a spoiler on its own.

Despite the ratings, its undeniably fun to watch if you like a bit gore and horror in detective fiction. I do find the movie was first episode of Sherlock and first episode of Castle with some vibes from that Johnny Depp’s From Hell and Buried (2010). To be honest, Poe’s writing was the inspiration of Sherlock Holmes. Not Edgar Allen Poe himself. If they changed a silent, intelligent maniacally genius, analytical being of Holmes into action packed heroics, surely you can expect a tortured writer on a vengeful haunt to find his loved one. Take this as a John Carter to all of the Star Trek and Star Wars movies on this planet.

The Raven is in its depth was a love story between Edgar and Miss Emily Hamilton. In the first part of the movie, we are introduced to Edgar who is a raving writer who quote words and Personally, Emily Hamilton (Alice Eve) does compliment to Edgar in a sort of way that the writer could love someone. As a woman who demurely accepted her duties to her father, she actually came off as strong female character that rebelled against what is expected to her and understand Poe’s wit. Apparently, she’s the main target of Poe’s biggest fan who blamed her for his writer’s blockade. So, he build up a murder game whence Poe was inexplicably involved into as a consult for Inspector Fields (Luke Evans) where he was slowly breaking down from the inside at the thought of the missing Emily. This is actually a very commendable acting by John Cusack.

Since its a story about the writer and police inspector (aren’t that reminded you of certain duo) chasing an actively murdering blood-thirsty criminal, so of course there will be blood and throat slashing every once in a while. On the other hand, I often reminded everyone that I don’t have blood phobia. I do however have annoying fear of incompetent people poking both of my arm with needles and seemed to think it doesn’t hurt. I do countless blood smear with my blood (this two hands have all of the fingers pricked by hundred of  lancets by me) and around mid-May and June 2010, I had gone through hundreds of blood vials and helped around the hospital labs blood section in abject boredom. To be honest, blood is actually cleaner and safer (despite notorious health risk stuff.. I can’t say much with other types of body fluid) and so all of these gore made me have this annoying tendency to comment on fake blood attempts in movie industry. In fact, I wrote length prose in my boredom just to describe how blood is supposed to react while coagulating and splattering.

I’ve observed reviewers saying the movie was too “Saw”-like for them. I actually scratch my head at that. “Saw” and “Final Destination” are notorious and fake in every sort of way (besides, there must be a screw loose somewhere if you enjoy watching people getting hit by random flying objects). Vampire movies and tv series have blood dribbling from their mouths and often unrealistic unless they drink from a blood bag. This movie however, only have one sort of CGI-ed scene with an axe on a writer that is absolutely gruesomely satisfying (in real life, the writer guy actually kutuk2 kaw2 after Edgar Allen Poe died) and that scene is pretty much into the spirit of Poe in terms of the mechanics, the suspense, the inevitability of its end. Instead of giving much of the spoiler, I guess, the villain does in some ways reminded me of Jack The Ripper.

Because of its settings and the technicalities of the movie, the dialogues by all of the characters are often too long and flowery. I guess, its unfair to give the writers a hard time since the casts did fabulous job in expressing their characters and maintaining the storyline to its core. Some parts of the movie carry no dialogues like exchanged looks, movements and perceptions. There’s also some part at the end which is pretty hard to get but medically possible at that era and in the situation but plainly, its a movie that you can be appreciative to costumed mystery and thriller and only had you not compare to various The Raven derivatives.

The plot are pretty predictable for people who seeks something like Inception or Sherlock Holmes’s wit. If you are a die-hard Edgar Allen Poe fan who dislike every modern interpretations about him, just don’t watch it. I don’t really care that you refuse to watch the movie because its historical inaccuracies (well, it already said its a fictionalized story) and butchering thy author in a biographical way (again, its a made up story), rest assure, you don’t miss much of anything.

I do read Poe once in a while to get the intensity going on and I think its a good job for a movie to compile each of Poe stories into sets of copy cats murder which does made me want to re-read Poe again. But again, I watch it because John Cusack and Luke Evans. If you got tired with Sherlock and Watson or Beckett and Castle, do check the movie for the quality acting.

Oh, it did say something on a fictionalized story of the last days of Edgar Allen Poe. So what do you expect from the ending?

—————-

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