Film Review

Netflix’s The Pale Blue Eye Movie Review

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Netflix’s The Pale Blue Eye Movie Review

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Netflix's The Pale Blue Eye Movie Review
Netflix's The Pale Blue Eye Movie Review

© Courtesy of CBR

Debuting on Netflix on January 6th, Pale Blue Eyes is the latest installment in the modern mystery genre, set centuries ago in a bittersweet chapter of American history. Those looking for a different identity after the bright and colorful The Glass Onion could do a lot worse than Scott Cooper's latest take on the good old movie. It's a good modern entry in the genre, bolstered by a strong cast, though weighed down by a third act that doesn't match the rest of the film.

Adapted from Louis Bayard's novel of the same name, Pale Blue Eyes focuses more on Augustus Landor (Christian Bale), a lonely and resentful man still torn by the absence of his daughter Mattie (Hadley Robinson). Despite her protests, she is hired by Captain Hitchcock (Simon McBurney) and Inspector Thayer (Timothy Spall) to investigate a mysterious and apparently clandestine murder on the grounds of West Point Military Academy. Still a relatively new institution, Landor is tasked with keeping the school's reputation clean by solving undercover crimes, and other students begin to become targets.

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He is aided by a young student with a penchant for languages ​​named Edgar Allan Poe (Harry Melling), who soon proves to be Landor's important ally and friend. As the investigation continues, Beau finds himself entangled in the lives of fellow student Artemus (Harry Lutin), his intelligent but terminally ill sister Lee (Lucy Boynton), and his parents – doctor father Daniel (Toby Jones) and socialite mother. Julia (Gillian Anderson) only complicates matters as their connection to the main crime is slowly revealed throughout the film.

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Directed and written by Scott Cooper ( Crazy Heart ) , Pale Blue Eye is a well-constructed mystery that draws on its gothic atmosphere to good effect. The film is not devoid of color or light, but it is elaborate, often using a palette of pale and gray tones to draw the viewer into a certain mood and tone. Cinematographer Masanobu Takayanagi paints a picture of 19th-century America that, at best, looks like it was ripped from an oil painting of the era, and Pale Blue Eye provides just the right visual flair to back it up. It's a dark film, but it's not without wit and charm, especially when Milling really sinks into an incredibly sweet but surprisingly innocent portrayal of the poetic legend.

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There is no easy direction in Poe's film, nor does it make him dark or bleak like a cartoon, nor does it completely ignore the more complex elements of a real-life character. In contrast, Milling found the subject warm and sensual, particularly in contrast to Landor's deliberate undercut. Bale does a great job in the role, not letting the dark elements overpower the deep emotions the character usually hides. The films collide when the two appear on screen together, and their relationship quickly sparks hilarity and passion in a cold, bittersweet setting. The film uplifts and gives a lot of warmth to the story.

While the rest of the cast doesn't quite live up to the level of emotion and vivid sensitivity, they all do a great job with the odd and unexpected part of the puzzle. It's the third act that finally weighs heavily on this meaningful film, and it's hard to discuss without spoiling the ending. While the story's final twists have interesting ideas, much of the third act has a melodramatic sincerity that the film lacks in finesse.

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Pale Blue Eyes benefits from a strong sense of tone and a strong lead pair – seriously, Bale and Melling deserve a bit more screen time after this. Overall, this is a solid gothic entry into the mystery genre. Unfortunately, the film ends with a lackluster and underacted cast that feels overly complicated and even cruel to the largely unseen and underdeveloped characters.

Pale Blue Eyes debuts on Netflix on January 6th.

light blue eyes | Official Trailer | Netflix

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