The Crow (1994)
Director: Alex Proyas
Brandon Lee/Eric Draven
Rock n roll boyfriend Eric Draven (Lee) and his sweetheart Shelly (Shinas) are savagely murdered by a gang of thugs on Halloween night. A year later on the same night Eric comes back to life through the powers of a crow. Now invincible and with the crow as his guide he finds and murders the scum who ruined his wedding plans and his life. Revenge is a dish best served cold with a lot of bullets.
Grim, poetic piece. This film based on James O Barr’s comic book deals with themes that we can all relate too: Love, death and revenge. Those themes are of course amplified if you take into account the death of it’s star "Brandon Lee" during the shoot, but I don’t want to get into that. On it’s own this flick is a visual masterpiece filled with exquisite lighting, gloomy sets, effective flashbacks and a truckload of imagery. I would compare this film to a poem or a sad song, it works on that kind of level. On a sour note, some of the dialogue is pretty cheesy (how Albrecht and Sarah talk about seeing a living dead in ho hum fashion) and some of the plot devices (that were not in the comic) a tad clumsy (having Eric being able to see inside Albrecht mind by touching him, having Eric lose his invincibility once his task his done, and the way the main bad guy is dispatched).
The script could have used a polish. The movie works best when no dialogue is spoken, when it lets the images and the music tell the story. I felt that the screenwriter tried to lighten the movie’s tone, slapping in some light humor courtesy of the Albrecht character. I don’t mind the humor that comes naturally via the chicken shite "Skank" or the dead pan villain "Top Dollar" but the humor brought by the Albretch character feels forced and definitely out of place. The comic book didn’t have it and the movie didn’t need it, it’s a dark movie that deals with a dark subject, they should have trusted that and delved into it totally. Fortunately the screenwriter’s stumble doesn’t drown the movie’s main reasons to be: Melancholy, death, sadness, insanity, revenge, anger and expression through bullets. Lets fly alongside this one…
The film is very violent but it suggests more than it shows. We still get a girl’s eyes being pecked out by a crow.
Brandon Lee (Draven) gives a vulnerable, mesmerizing performance. He hits all the right notes and manages to convey all of his character’s changing emotions excellently. This is a great part and Lee is up for it. Too bad we lost him so soon. I’m sure he would’ve been another Johnny Depp. Michael Wincott (Top Dollar) is very amusing as the raspy voiced villain. Bringing dark, natural, dead pan humor to the flick and being one mean mother. He also has great hair. Rochelle David (Sarah) gives a wooden performance but she’s a kid so I’ll stop here. Sophia Shinas (Shelly) hardly has any lines but there’s a radiant positive glow about her that serves the film well.
Ernie Hudson (Albrecht) does what he can with a badly written part, lucky for us he’s a good actor. One thing though, it is very obvious that Ernie is not a smoker, cause when he puffs on that cigarette, he doesn’t inhale…next part Ernie just don’t smoke. It looks silly when you don’t take it in. I also want to give kudos to the 4 thugs: David Patrick Kelly (T Bird)-Angel David (Skank)-Laurence Masson (Tin Tin) and Michael Massee (Fun Boy). This motley crue, deliver the bad boy goods and even manage to give a certain amount of depth to obvious one dimensionally written characters. Great job. I have to get this off my chest: What the f..k is up Albretch’s superior’s ass. What a badly written part, all the character does is bitch and moan…god I wanted to slap him! I feel better now…
T & A
We get a sweet butt-shot courtesy of a hot Asian girl. Brandon Lee shows off his fit upper body.
This film is pure energy, a pissed off MTV video. I applaud Proyas. He brings out so much emotion through images: a look, a kiss, a stare, a gun in your face. Like I said earlier, the film is at it’s strongest when nobody speaks. It communicates so much more. Proyas also knows a thing or two about John Woo flicks. The main shootout scene is straight out of a Hong Kong flick…except with strobe lights. Great pulse pounding sequence and an overall fantastic first film for Proyas.
The Cure, Stone Temple Pilots, Nine Inch Nails, Jane Siberry…the film’s soundtrack is as much a character as the actors. It amplifies the feelings the film communicates. The score by Graeme Revel is astounding to say the least, very sad and beautiful.
The Crow is the horror genre’s Hamlet. This is our swan song. It’s a slick, emotional, action packed, powerful ride and if you haven’t seen it…you should. Yes it has some faults but they’re quickly discarded by the film’s visceral, in your face core. And even though I wanted to avoid the subject, I feel compelled to say this: The film is also a moving tribute to a great actor: Brandon Lee. Knowing that Brandon Lee was weeks from getting married (like his character) and knowing that he died filming the scene of his character’s initial demise, fills this film with an extra layer of sadness (it’s also pretty weird). One thing is for sure, it was destined that Lee play this part and I for one will never forget him.
Initially River Phoenix and Christian Slater were approached for the part of Eric. Cameron Diaz was offered the part of Shelly but she turned it down, she didn’t like the script.
The poem Draven recites when he enters Gideon’s pawn shop is "The Raven" by Edgar Allan Poe.
Michael Massee (Fun Boy) is the actor that shot the gun that killed Brandon Lee.
In the first cut there was a character that went by the name of "Skull Cowboy" played by Michael Berryman (Hills Have Eyes). The character served as a guide to Eric. In the scene when Eric kills Fun Boy, there use to be a fight sequence between FunBoy and Draven. Funboy cuts Draven, his wounds don’t heal cause he used up some of his powers to cleanse Darla of her morphine problem. (that’s explained to Eric by the Skull Cowboy) So he patches up his wounds with black electric tape.
The skull cowboy character was totally cut out of the film. The fight sequence too but later on in the film you see Draven wearing that electric tape.