Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Poe's The Raven on the silver screen

V for Vendetta director James McTeigue is working on a movie which shares the title of one of Edgar Allan Poe's most famous poems, The Raven. According to /Film, The Raven will be a period thriller that's a fictionalized account of the final five mysterious days of Poe’s life.

When I read The Raven poem for the first time, I had shivers down my spine and fell in love with the imagery. The personification of death knocking at your door is haunting and and I've always been a fan of Poe's work for its prose and darkness. It'll be interesting how The Raven movie will work out, expectations will be high considering that the movie's named after one of the most well-loved poems around. The movie has a great premise and shrouded around a lot speculation and mystery, so the writers have a ton of freedom to work on, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed for several reasons.

V For Vendetta was one of those movies that I was quite undecided about. On the surface, it had all the right ingredients that will make me love the film - a strong, talented cast (Natalie Portman and Hugo Weaving), creative & poetic script, various twists in the plot and a dash of darkness. But the movie left me feeling that it was incomplete, like it had all the ingredients but it just didn't feel right together. Something felt missing, and until today, I still can't place it.

Besides V for Vendetta, McTeigue also directed Ninja Assassin, an action film starring Korea's biggest pop export and pretty boy Rain, who was last seen in Speed Racer. In Ninja Assassin, Rain has more lines and movement than in Speed Racer -- I would hope so, considering he's the lead. Peter Sciretta of /Film called Ninja Assassin "bloody awesome and worth the price of admission alone." I'm excited to see an Asian male lead that's not a comedic role (I still think you're great, John Cho!), flanked by a cast of Asian American actors in a made in and by Hollywood movie, even though Ninja Assassin is still a martial arts flick, albeit a very stylized one. The trailer reminded me a lot of Mortal Kombat but with much better CG. Ninja Assassin will only be out in the US in November 2009, until then, ceck out the Ninja Assassin trailer.

So besides V for Vendetta and the Ninja Assassin trailer, I don't have much to go on McTeigue's previous work, but he's worked as Second Unit Director or Assistant Director in some movies that I've really enjoyed - Matrix Trilogy, Dark City and Speed Racer. Like I said, holding judgment until I hear more news about The Raven.

So back to The Raven movie plot - according to Wikipedia, five days before Poe's death, he was found on the streets of Baltimore, delirious, distressed and wearing clothes that were not his own. He was taken to the hospital and was said that Poe had repeatedly called out the name "Reynolds" on the night before his death. Poe was incoherent the entire time he was in the hospital, and could not explain the strange circumstances that brought him onto the streets and to his death. All medical records, including Poe's death certificate, have been lost.Newspapers at the time reported Poe's death as "congestion of the brain" or "cerebral inflammation", common euphemisms for deaths from disreputable causes such as alcoholism. However, the actual cause of death remains a mystery. I'm getting goosebumps just writing this!

Read Edgar Allan Poe's The Raven.



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