Christian Bale comes to Netflix, where he reunites with director Scott Cooper for the gothic thriller The Pale Blue Eye, inspired by Edgar Allan Poe.
The Pale Blue Eye arrives on Netflix and reestablishes the partnership between the director Scott Cooper and Oscar-winning actor Christian Bale, for a gothic detective thriller inspired by Edgar Allan Poe which finds precisely in the Boston writer and poet an exceptional co-star, here played by the star of Harry Potter Harry Melling.
Adapted from the 2006 novel of the same name written by Louis Bayard and presented by Netflix Italy with the explanatory title The Pale Blue Eye – The West Point Murders., is the story of a troubled detective who, in 1830, is summoned by the upper echelons of the military academy at West Point, in upstate New York, to solve a strange series of disturbing murders. It just so happens that at that time (and this is True History) among the cadets at the academy was one who was particularly interested in the occult, the eccentric would-be poet Edgar Allan Poe, and the protagonist will choose him as his ally in order to succeed in penetrating the tight ranks of the soldiers, among whom the killer may be hiding.
Scott Cooper’s cinema appears more and more, stage by stage, as a a cinema that looks at cinema, repurposing American cinema through its genres: it has tackled virtually all of them, from the musical (Crazy Heart, in its debut), the gangster(Black Mass), even the western(Hostiles), and with The Pale Blue Eye it seems to want to continue a discourse on the horror thriller already started in the previous Antlers, produced by Guillermo Del Toro (available on Netflix with his new film Pinocchio). And he certainly knows them well, those genres, knows how to move within its mechanisms, and again the suggestions are many and often very strong, between The ninth door and The Mysteries of Sleepy Hollow, along misty, ghostly woods and naturalistic chiaroscuro that act on two levels as they evoke the works Poe would write in his future.
Some writing problems
Where Cooper’s hand gets heavy, however, is in the writing: from the characterization of the characters to the thickening of the plot with far too many misleading elements, to a crackling, cackling resolution that seems to come into contradiction with the dense pacing of the narrative, The Pale Blue Eye remains an undecided film, with two souls, which cannot find the balance between its artistic aspirations and its need for showmanship.
Nicely, not to mention, Christian Bale (in his third film with Cooper after The Fire of Vengeance and Hostiles), what a classic old noir figure who says everything about his character’s past through gestures and body before the plot shows it to us, and The construction of the ‘father-son’ relationship between him and Poe Is winning. Inexplicable, however, is the squandering of Charlotte Gainsbourg and Robert Duvall, stuffed into the cast in roles that to call totally side roles would be an insult to the salad.