January 27, 2023

Christian Bale as Augustus Landor in The Pale Blue Eye. Cr. Scott Garfield/Netflix © 2022

The Pale Blue Eye is a macabre murder mystery with surprising twists. It is a captivating whodunit while also being the Edgar Allan Poe origin story you didn’t know you needed.”

The Pale Blue Eye releases tomorrow in select cinemas and arrives on Netflix, January 6. It is an adaptation of Louis Bayard’s novel. The film is written and directed by Scott Cooper.

STORY

(L to R) Christian Bale as Augustus Landor and Harry Melling as Edgar Allen Poe in The Pale Blue Eye. Cr. Scott Garfield/Netflix © 2022

This film takes place in 1830 at West Point. A local detective Augustus Landor (played by Christian Bale) is hired by the military Academy to solve the mystery of who removed the heart of a young cadet who was just found dead. To help him, Landor enlists the help of another eccentric cadet – Edgar Allan Poe (played by Harry Melling).

This is a slow-burn but captivating whodunit. The story is so bewitching, you just want to know who did it. It perfectly builds up to the reveals. And, there is more than meets the eye in this mystery. Indeed, there are surprising twists. There are several layers to this film. In fact, more than just a macabre murder mystery, this is also the Edgar Allan Poe origin story you didn’t know you needed. Moreover, the interactions between Landor and Poe are absolutely enjoyable. This is a father-son story as well.

VISUALS

Christian Bale as Augustus Landor in The Pale Blue Eye. Cr. Scott Garfield/Netflix © 2022

Moreover, the story takes place during Winter so it is cold and snowy with leafless trees. The scenery emits a feeling of gloom. From the choice of buildings to the landscape, everything is there to create a gothic atmosphere. And, the color palette is sombre. The cinematographer Masanobu Takayanagi does a flawless job here. Indeed, it is as if you were reading a book of Edgar Allan Poe and everything came to life as you read the pages. I love films and series with that type of atmosphere. In fact, it is the perfect setting for a crime mystery.

SCORE

Christian Bale as Augustus Landor in The Pale Blue Eye. Cr. Scott Garfield/Netflix © 2022

From the moment, I heard the first track I knew it was Howard Shore’s work. He has a special style that makes everything spectacular. His score helps creating the gothic and macabre atmosphere of the film. There is that little something that will give you chills during some scenes.

CAST

(L to R) Christian Bale as Augustus Landor and Harry Melling as Edgar Allen Poe in The Pale Blue Eye. Cr. Scott Garfield/Netflix © 2022

Moreover, The Pale Blue Eye gathers a stellar cast which includes Gillian Anderson, Robert Duvall, Charlotte Gainsbourg and others. Christian Bale is mesmerizing as always. This man’s talent has no limits. However, Harry Melling is the real standout of this film. Indeed, he is a memorable Edgar Allan Poe. And, I think Melling should more often get lead roles, he definitely has the acting skills to carry a film.

VERDICT

The Pale Blue Eye is a macabre murder mystery with surprising twists. It is a captivating whodunit while also being the Edgar Allan Poe origin story you didn’t know you needed. Christian Bale is mesmerizing but Harry Melling is the real standout of this film. He is a memorable Edgar Allan Poe.

The Pale Blue Eye releases in select cinemas tomorrow and starts streaming on Netflix, January 6.

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