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The Pale Blue Eye Review – an uneven and over-the-top gothic murder mystery

January 2, 2023

The post The Pale Blue Eye Review – An Uneven and Over-the-top Gothic Murder Mystery appeared first on Ready Steady Cut.

We review Netflix movie The Pale Blue Eye, which contains no spoilers.

You must be wondering what attracted Scott Cooperthe director behind serious crime films (Out of the oven, Black Mass, mad heart), to by Louis Bayard pale blue eye.

Of course, the director’s eye is still intact for striking and original visuals. However, the material is so standard that the genre almost, forgive me for the pun, pales in comparison to the visceral character studies it has crafted in the past. Nothing in the story feels grounded and is based on reality, a staple of his previous footage. One of the contributing factors to the problem is how horribly overdone the whole movie can be.

The Pale Blue Eye Review and Plot Summary

pale blue eye follows Augustus Landor (Christian Bale), of some fame, a detective from New York. He is sent for by Captain Hitchcock (Simon McBurney) and Superintendent of West Point Thayer (Timothy Spall). Why? There’s been a grizzly bear murder on the grounds of the United States Military Academy near the Hudson River. On that cold October evening in 1830, a young cadet was found hanging from a tree and dangling from a rope. But that’s not the most shocking thing about the crime. The coroner, Dr. Daniel Marquis (Toby Jones), discovered that someone had snuck in and cut out the heart of the deceased the next morning.

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To help investigate the crime, a young cadet doubles as a wordsmith. He’s a bit of a weird Southern duck and his name is Edgar Allen Poe (The old guardit is Harry Melling). Soon, not just one but other cadets show up hanging out and without a single breath. Poe befriended several cadets, infiltrating areas of the college where he would stick out like a sore thumb.

From there, Poe befriends the good doctor’s daughter, a charming young woman with a cough and fainting spells, Lea (Lucy Boyton). There are some nefarious characters on the grounds of West Point, like an occult expert, Jean-Pepe (virtually a cameo of Robert Duval) and Lea’s mother (Gillian Andersonin “I declare” mode in its own right), who has an unhealthy infatuation with the comings and goings of her children.

Cooper brings some of his actors from previous works to the film. Sure, you have Bale, the film’s shining star, but even he falls victim to overzealous acting in one scene. (For example, in the scene where he confronts Dr. Marquis de Jones). However, most of his performances are perfect. It elevates the fairly standard murder mystery material which is covered in impressive appearances. For example, the movie is stunning to watch. Masanobu Takayanagiit is (Grey) sublime cinematography gives Cooper’s film a unique feel. This has been a staple for most of his other photos.

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However, Bale’s stunning performances and visuals are uneven with the main story plot and some jaw-dropping performances. For example, while my admiration for Gillian Anderson returned to her days on X files, it’s hard to understand what she’s trying to accomplish here. Her performance is so over the top she may have been pulled from a cut Saturday Night Live sketch.

While Melling has real chemistry with Bale’s Landor, his general demeanor is your generic caricature of a collection of readings you can see in all Poe Society readings. It’s nothing you’ve ever seen in a show or movie depicting the famous character as an almost Shakespearian aquatic character who never quite blends into his surroundings. If you compare Landor and Poe, they both have this lonely, mysterious quality. However, only Bale’s character has a three-dimensional quality that makes Landor well-rounded and more appealing as a result.

The other main issue is the movie’s big reveal, which doesn’t hold up, even after the movie redirects us to the stages of who’s behind the murders. The plot of occult evil running around West Point is convoluted. This is clearly a red herring that depreciates the effect.

Is The Pale Blue Eye any good?

pale blue eye wastes a genuinely thought-provoking and intriguing premise. However, the script, which is also a problem with the source material, is thinly veiled. We never know what makes Poe tick, whereas we do with Landor. The film’s big reveal has the added emotional weight brought by Bale’s turn, but that’s not enough for a film that’s too long and too light on character depth.

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What did you think of the Netflix movie The Pale Blue Eye? Comments below.

The post The Pale Blue Eye Review – An Uneven and Over-the-top Gothic Murder Mystery appeared first on Ready Steady Cut.