A world-weary detective is hired to investigate the murder of a West Point cadet. Stymied by the cadets’ code of silence, he enlists one of their own to help unravel the case – a young man the world would come to know as Edgar Allan Poe.
In ‘The Pale Blue Eye’, Scott Cooper’s latest movie, Batman and Dudley from Harry Potter (Christian Bale & Harry Melling) try to solve some occult like murders at a U.S. military academy in 1830s New York State. In this dark and gritty period mystery thriller, we follow veteran detective Augustus Landor (Bale) and a young military cadet called Edgar Allen Poe (Melling, playing the famed author) as they investigate these gruesome murders, attempting to catch the perpetrators before they can commit more murders.
Cards on the table, I really disliked this movie for a number of reasons. Firstly, it is incredibly dreary and dark (not just the material, this is possibly the darkest film I’ve seen visually), with a central story that failed to engage me. Some would call it atmospheric; I would call it lacking in propulsion or intensity. Secondly, I struggled with Bale’s performance in this, not for the first time recently after ‘Amsterdam’ where he was also overacting to the point it was distracting. He’s been in a bit too much recently and a lot of it not that great. Thirdly, Edgar Allen Poe and this time period aren’t as interesting as filmmakers think it is – see also ‘The Raven’ with John Cusack. It is a shame as there’s a really good cast here, with Gillian Anderson, Timothy Spall and Toby Jones having roles, but I never got into this, so the way it concludes (which is well done) didn’t land with me as I’d hoped.
‘The Pale Blue Eye’ is a dull and disappointing mystery thriller from Scott Cooper that wallows in its own miserabilism, and I didn’t connect with it at all.
Directed By: Scott Cooper
Starring: Christian Bale, Harry Melling, Simon McBurney, Timothy Spall, Toby Jones, Gillian Anderson, Lucy Boynton, Harry Lawtey, Fred Hechinger, Joey Brooks, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Charlie Tahan and Robert Duvall