Movie Review: The Pale Blue Eye

I have to say the draw, for me, to Scott Cooper’s “Pale Blue Eye” was the inclusion of Edgar Allan Poe’s character, with no other expectation of the movie itself. However, after watching it, now three times, I am pleased to say that I was pleasantly surprised by how good the movie really is.

There is murder in the air as this murder mystery takes you for a ride through the 1830’s at the United States Military Academy (West Point) through a cold, harsh winter. A retired detective is hired to investigate the desecration of the body, discovering it was a murder and begins the quest to find the guilty. During the time, a second murder, and desecration of the deceased, takes place. Christian Bale as detective Augustus Landor was excellent, giving the feel of Author Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes, with his intelligent musings and deductions during the case. As good as Bale was as Landor, British actor Harry Melling was superb as cadet Edgar Allan Poe, who joins Landor in his investigation.

The twists and turns in this film are excellent and there are so many “oh, yeh” moments as Landor and Poe unravel the case. It is a definite period piece feel with the setting, the dialect and the incredible costuming and it flows much like a case in a Sherlock Holmes book as clues are discovered and deduced by the intelligent detective and his even more intelligent side kick. Landor could easily be Holmes and Poe could have been Watson in a Doyle story.

The case is a labyrinth as it goes on, with multiple suspects and multiple motives but in the end, when you believe the case is solved, the twist will blindside you and as that twist unfolds, we are once again saying “Oh, yeh, now I get it.”

This is easily one of the best movies I have seen in the last year. It is exactly what I like to see in a movie – dark theme, dark setting, dark characters and intelligent writing. This is a must watch movie and I liked it all three times I watched it and picked up something new with each viewing.


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