Director: scott cooper | Screenplay: scott cooper | To emit: Christian Bale (Augustus Landor), Harry Melling (Edgar Allan Poe), Lucy Boynton (Lea Marquis), ea | Time to play: 130 minutes | Year: 2022
In 1830, Augustus Landor arrives as a Sherlock in the snow at West Point, a remote military academy on the frozen Hudson River. It’s an atmospheric landscape you tell yourself, except outside the gates is a dead body hanging from a tree. Unfortunately, the mystery is worth it. the pale blue eye in force with each subsequent victim, and is especially convincing of the frigid atmosphere in which the film takes place.
By the way, a solid, no-nonsense Christian Bale with a living-at-home look takes the first cues, you don’t expect his Watson-type opposite to inundate him with one cascade of speech after another. But outside the gates, near the first crime scene, Landor meets none other than Edgar Allan Poe. Harry Melling (known as Dirk Duffling in the Harry Potterfilms) plays the iconic poet in the shadow of Bale. Who actually spent the winter of 1830 at West Point in his young adult years.
It should come as no surprise that the victims followed one another in quick succession after the first hanging. Landor is tormented by his own demons during his quest for evil: he turns out to be a widower and sees his missing daughter appear in his mind. When he finally takes the law into his own hands, he is reminiscent of Bale’s character in out of the ovena previous collaboration with director Scott Cooper.
The partnership between the elderly Landor and the young Poe is not without its problems, especially when the cadet-in-training becomes obsessed with Lea, an elegantly dressed young woman suffering from a rare disease. The best clue to the heart of the story seems to come from the hidden library of an elderly counselor (Robert Duvall).
It is and remains a bit awkward to see Landor and Poe together, especially since the film’s persistently serious tone suits Bale better than it does his co-star. It is true that the mischievous image that Melling gave to the Harry PotterLeftover movies may also annoy some viewers, but in the end it depends more on the script. Simply because it’s about Poe, or so it seems, his inspired lyrics follow one after another. Meanwhile, the mystery has become a cult setting, normally fertile ground for humor and the absurd, Poe’s endlessly dramatic take on the character feels increasingly forced.
the pale blue eye ultimately tells two stories through his mix of personal drama and hidden mystery. In theory, those stories should complement each other perfectly, but in practice it’s contrived, because the cross-connections ultimately break the story and make it overly explanatory. Careful picture direction (with just enough pauses to breathe between scenes) and atmospheric vista of a snowy winter landscape keep Netflix’s first big movie of 2023 riveting for over two hours.
the pale blue eye can be seen in Netflix.