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Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Review: The Pale Blue Eye

Director: Scott Cooper

Screenplay: Scott Cooper

Year: 2023


What would it be like if the writer Edgar Allan Poe investigated a Sherlock Holmes-style murder? This must have been the idea of Louis Bayard, author of the book “The Pale Blue Eye”, on which the film with which it shares its name is based and which gets its name from a Poe poem of the same name. It should be noted that nothing in the story of the book or the film is based on real events in Poe's life.


After an apparent suicide at a cadet school, a detective is hired to investigate what happened when the corpse appears mutilated and with its heart removed. To advance his investigation, the detective enlists one of the cadets to help him, the young Edgar Allan Poe. They both immerse themselves in a complex investigation that, little by little, reveals the secrets behind the event.


“The Pale Blue Eye” doesn't take long to bring out its greatest virtues and use them for the rest of its 128-minute runtime. One of these virtues is how well worked the visual aspect is, with a gothic, cold, and melancholic atmosphere that highlights the suspense that surrounds the plot. It is also an environment that perfectly complements the style that characterizes Poe's works, to which reference is made.


The second of its virtues is its great cast, with Christian Bale starring as detective Augustus Landor and Harry Melling giving life to the acclaimed writer Edgar Allan Poe. Bale has already accustomed us to his excellent performances, and Melling takes his opportunity to give a great interpretation of the writer, although at times, he borders on the excess of eccentricity that characterized his character. Each one does a formidable job, but it's the scenes that they share together the best part of the film.


What prevents "The Pale Blue Eye" from being a better film is its slow pace, which at times becomes maddening. You would expect a slower pace to build atmosphere and suspense, but on the other hand, the lack of pacing detracts from a sense of urgency, which is key to a plot based on a murder investigation. Luckily this problem loses presence in the third act, where the twists and revelations change that dynamic.


“The Pale Blue Eye” is one of Netflix's newest offerings in the thriller genre, featuring an all-star cast and spectacular photography. The plot is intriguing, and the twists are unexpected and surprising. Its main problem is its leisurely pace, and the presence of Edgar Allan Poe's character is only a curious fact and can be exchanged for a generic character without altering the plot.

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