REview: The Pale Blue Eye (2022) | Needlessly Dour

Scott Cooper is a director who tends to take on fairly heavy subjects in movies like Into The Furnace (2013), Hostiles (2017), Antlers (2021) and most recently The Pale Blue Eye (2022).

And having only the latter two movies; it there’s anything to be taken away from the experience is that Scott Cooper makes serious movies.

Which I’m okay with.

What I’m not is how serious it feels the director himself takes them.

The Pale Blue Eye revolves around Augustus Landor (Christian Bale) who’s asked to investigate the murder of a cadet at West Point (a military academy in the United States).

In his investigations Landor meets a cadet who assists him solving the case, E.A Poe.

In cause you’re wondering, ‘E.A. Poe’ was Edgar Allen Poe, wrote The Raven, The Tell-Tale Heart, Annabelle Lee and numerous other novellas and poems though he died at the age of 40, before receiving any real notoriety.

Though what a lot of people don’t know is that Poe is believed to have written the first detective thriller with Murders in the Rue Morgue (a story that likely inspired Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes).

Poe is a very serious man, and The Pale Blue Eye is a very serious movie; too serious by a fault because it reeks of self-importance, which is the only reason I can find that the movie lasts 2 hours, when it would likely be better suited for an hour and a half.

Then there’s the dreariness of the production.

As I already mentioned, it’s too long though what’s perhaps worse is that it’s so gloomy, so glum.

This tendency isn’t helped by how monotone the movie is, never mind taking place during winter.

It’s in color, but the palette is so restrained that it might as well be black and white.

This tendency to sap the production of life may have perhaps been done to put viewers in the mind of Edgar Allen Poe, but it just distanced me from what was going on.

The movie is very well directed – the acting by Christian Bale, Harry Melling and Gillian Anderson is particularly strong – but too aloof to be really enjoyed.


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