First Hit: At times tedious and slow, other times engaged and watchable.
This film had some possibilities but I’d be hard pressed to understand why it didn’t work when looked at as a whole film.
This story is basically about someone who decides to make real the stories of Edgar Allan Poe (played by John Cusack) as a way to get Poe to kill himself. This person determines that the way to do this is to hold Poe’s girlfriend Emily (played by Alice Eve) hostage.
Emily’s father Captain Hamilton (played by Brendan Gleeson) dislikes Poe because Poe is usually drunk and has little inspiration to write more great stories. He’s against Poe but there is little story line to give this some credence.
I didn’t see the chemistry or connection between Poe and Emily. Detective Fields (played by Luke Evans) is the guy investigating the crimes modeled after Poe’s stories but he allows Captain Hamilton to push him around too much. As this point the movie meanders, but it was nice to see aspects of Poe’s tales shown on the screen.
Cusack is intelligent enough to carry off being Poe. Eve was OK but I never saw much of a real connection with Poe to make it work that they would die for each other. Gleeson is righteously arrogant enough to carry off his role as protective father. Evans is good as the detective but there is little to validate his credentials as head detective. Ben Livingston and Hannah Shakespeare wrote the script which meandered at the beginning and tightened up in the end. James McTeigue directed this film. At times it seemed under control and with clear direction while at other times I was fully disengaged as I waited for the next relevant scene.
Overall: Despite Cusack’s intelligent portrayal of Poe, this film didn’t have enough to make it very good.