By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs
Director and screenwriter Scott Cooper
("Out of the Furnace" and "Hostiles") reunites with Christian Bale
("Amsterdam") in the new, murder mystery, "The Pale Blue Eye"
which debuts on Netflix.
"The Pale Blue Eye" is a haunting thriller adapted from Louis Bayard's 2003 novel of the same name. The twisty tale of family, love, revenge, and murder is set in 1830 West Point, New York. It centers around a former, well-respected New York detective named Augustus Landor (a terrific, Bale), who is hired by West Point military officials; Captain Hitchcock (Simon Burney, TV's "Carnival Row") and Superintendent Thayer (Timothy Spall, "This is Christmas"), to investigate a gruesome on-campus hanging and subsequent murders.
The killings even have Dr. Daniel Marquis (Toby Jones, "Empire of Light") puzzled and concerned because each of the victims have had their hearts ripped out.
Of course, West Point officials want the recently widowed Landor to use the utmost discretion during the investigation. So much is at stake including the reputation of West Point. If this matter isn't satisfactorily resolved, the place could be defunded and shut down.
Landor jumps right in and starts examining the hanged man's body and immediately questions some of the doctor's findings. He also methodically interviews witnesses and searches for clues near the areas of the murders.
Landor gets an unlikely, but welcome assist from a weird looking new cadet and budding poet named Edgar Allan Poe (a fabulous Harry Melling, "The Tragedy of Macbeth" and TV's "The Queen's Gambit"). Poe actually attended West Point.
Landor and Poe initially make a formidable team. The more they dig and uncover, the more things don't seem to add up right and the case begins to drag on much to the dismay of the West Point honchos.
When the doctor's wife Lea (Gillian Anderson, TV's "The Crown") and their gorgeous daughter Lucy Boyton (“Murder on the Orient Express,” “Bohemian Rhapsody”)--whom every cadet desires, including Poe--may be linked to the killings, "The Pale Blue Eye" takes a dynamic and eye-opening turn. That final twist though, is a real doozy.
I liked everything about this movie including the cast which also features the always great Robert Duvall. He plays an expert witchcraft consultant. Director/screenwriter Scott Cooper takes his time and slowly develops the story and draws you in with each of the fascinating characters.
As good as Christian Bale is here, Harry Melling really steals the show as the quirky Edgar Allan Poe. He's a bit of goofball, but you can't help but adore him especially when he delivers the film's most comical lines.
"The Pale Blue Eye" is definitely worth seeing.
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Look At This Trailer For "THE PALE BLUE EYE"
Lana K. Wilson-Combs is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), The American Film Institute (AFI), and a Nominating Committee Voting Member for the NAACP Image Awards.