Welcome to part 1 of my celebration of The Crow. In this, the first of two parts we will be looking at the film itself, the story, the actors and the ethos behind it.
In May of this year (2014) a piece of cinematic and story-telling genius turns 20 and since is was once of the films that had a massive influence on my generation and me personally, I think it only fitting we mark the occasion.
The Crow began life as a comic in the late 80’s written by James O’Barr before being produced into a movie in 1994. The story centres around the hero Eric Drayven who is killed, along with his fiance by a gang of thugs and then later comes back to ‘life’ in order to hunt down and kill those responsible. He is guided in his quest by a Crow who shows him what he must do to avenge the death of his love keeping him focused on his task and not dwelling on the loss he feels.
The film version of the story featured the son of famous Martial Arts action hero Bruce Lee as the hero Eric, Brandon was a well known actor in his own right but none of his previous films had given him the opportunity to play such a dark, emotional character. Lee portrays the character with superb enthusiasm, mixing a deep emotional torment which presents itself as mischievous rage with a complex introspective persona. “It Can’t Rain All The Time…”
Lee’s Drayven is a subtle mix of blunt force action with moments of shiny comedy, helping to portray the maddening effects of not only losing a loved one but being killed and being brought back to life with superhuman powers. In the film Drayven’s vent is a close friend of his fiance’s, Sarah, a street-smart young girl who’s mother is addicted to drugs and show’s her no attention, and also a police officer Sgt. Albrecht, who recognises Drayven and begins a dialogue with him, eventually helping him.
For many, The Crow represented a theme which touched a nerve with people all over the world, when our loved ones are taken from us what is a suitable punishment and if we could have the chance, what would we do to punish those who had taken everything from you. The story itself was spawned as a mental release for the author who’s own girlfriend was killed by a drunk driver. The themes in the film are dark dealing with issues such as death, murder and rape, along with deeper psychological themes such as madness, depression and revenge.
Beautifully shot and meticulously acted The Crow came at a time for me when I was just getting into heavier bands, enjoying more punk and discovering darker themes in the music I was listening to. Added to this was a message about true morality and the ethics of what that morality truly was, for me, it made me begin to question what was the preconceived ideas of good and evil in society, of course I was only 12 when the film was released, but as grew up watching it my ideals of what constituted real good changed.
A decade later The Crow is still as in-touch with societies issues as it was in the 90’s, the themes and ideals are still relevant today in a world of increasing violence and the ever decreasing accountability of criminals who harm others. Ignoring the poor sequels and the unfortunate series The Crow has stood the test of time and will remain a narrative for our generation, even if they do manage to do the awful remake they’ve been planning for years. In a time where Hollywood seems incapable of making anything new more and more of our beloved stories will be ruined by over-enthusiastic producers who fail to see the real beauty in a piece of film that was ahead of it’s time.
Join us in Part 2 where I will be talking about the Soundtrack and analysing how they brought together such a perfect collection of tunes for this film.