Never Wrong a Writer

The Raven and the Rook

I decided earlier that I wasn't going to spend the entire night in the deathtrap of a house, and opted to go see The Raven, because there's nothing like spending part of the night with John Cusack. Get your minds out of the gutter. Cusack is groovy cool, but I just don't see him that way. But maybe you do. Well, whatever, back to the story.

The screening was at 10:30. I left at 10, in plenty enough time to get there and maybe get a drink...if my nightblindness had not made me miss the exit and make me have to double back to Woodruff Road. I got in just under the wire, and walked into an empty theatre. This was actually how I wanted it and one of the reasons I chose to go to the last showing. But just before the movie actually started, a man walked in. And he sat down a couple of rows behind me. Right behind me. This was night, I was alone, and we were about to watch a movie essentially about serial murder. I began running through the few Kung Fu moves I know. Now, I may have a death wish and, given my taste in men and characters, I've always figured I'd end up being murdered by a serial killer, but I want to do it on my terms. I at least wanted to see the movie first.

What can I say about The Raven? It is in every way a brilliant film. I've been following the development of the movie closely, because I have a deep affection for Edgar Allan Poe, and John Cusack is my homeboy from a past life. And there's never been a movie I've seen him in that I haven't loved. He's been talking on Twitter about his immersion into the person of Poe for some time, and it was fascinating to see him get so involved with and come to love the author and his works.

You could really tell. Even though this was a fictional Poe, John Cusack really brought as much reality as he could to the man. He went over and above board with this role, and he should be given multitudinous props. The supporting cast was also stellar. When I saw Brendan Gleeson, I was pretty damned thrilled. Love that man. Luke Evans certainly matched Cusack in talent, but that's what happens when a Welshman and an Irishman get together. Sparks fly.

There were some aspects about the movie, especially later on in the film that really kind of freaked me out. It has to do with the ending, and I don't want to give anything away, but a couple of quotes near the end hit waaaaay close to home. Suffice to say, it's that synchronicity thing. Of course, it just got weirder when I got in the car and cranked up the iPod. XTC hasn't shown up on the iPod in ages, and what's the first song that comes on? "Rook," by XTC. Even though the song is about European folklore surrounding this bird and its cousin the crow, both are related to the raven, and I'd always equated "Rook" with Poe's "Raven."  And it's even more relevant now, considering the plot of the movie. 

So, that's freakin' strange. Here are the lyrics to the song.

XTC "Rook" from the album Nonsuch (1992)
Rook, Rook Read from your book
Who murders who and where is the treasure hid?
Crow, Crow Spill all you know
Is that my name on the bell?

Rook, Rook Gaze in the brook
If there's a secret can I be part of it?
Crow, Crow Before I'll let go, say is that my name on the bell?

Soar up high, see the semaphore from the washing lines
Break the code of the whispering chimneys and traffic signs
Where's the message that's written under the base of clouds?
Plans eternal, I know you know, so don't blurt out loud

Rook, Rook By hook or by crook
I'll make you tell me what this whole thing's about!
Crow, Crow Why can't you show
If that's my name on the bell?

On the wings of night, I fly too, above field and stream
My head bursting with knowledge 'till I wake from the dream
If I die and I find that I had a soul inside
Promise me that you'll take it up on its final ride

Rook, Rook Gaze in the brook
If there's a secret can I be part of it?
Crow, Crow Before I'll let go, say is that my name on the bell?

Oh, in case you haven't noticed, my viewing partner did not kill me. He left before the credits rolled, and I always stick around for the credits. That's how I've always learned my movie trivia, even though IMdB has pretty much made the practice redundant. Old habits die hard, and apparently so do I.
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Can't wait to see it, too. But that would creep me out with that man behind me. And that song! It has to be connected to Poe. I really do think Crows and ravens know something. I am sure one will be sitting out waiting for me when I come out of the movie. Crows are always waiting for me.