The Pale Blue Eyes Review (2023)

The Pale Blue Eye is a spin-off of the historical fiction novel by writer Louis Bayard. This novel featuring the story of a young Edgar Allan Poe was nominated for the Edgar Award in the Best Novel category in 2007.

The presence of Christian Bale as a private detective is the main attraction of this film, considering his work in 2022 which was quite memorable. Not alone, he also played with Harry Melling, Gillian Anderson, Lucy Boynton, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Toby Jones, Harry Lawtey, and Simon McBurney.

The film is written and directed by Scott Cooper, who is known for films like ‘Crazy Heart’ and ‘Black Mass’. ‘The Pale Blue Eye’ itself is the third project of collaboration between Bale and Cooper.

Reportedly, the director has been developing this film for more than a decade. So do not be surprised, if some aspects feel so perfect. Both from the cinematography that fits the theme of the story, to the characters that catch the eye.

The Pale Blue Eyes Synopsis

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© Netflix

At West Point Academy in 1830, the calm of an October night is shattered by the discovery of a young cadet’s body hanging near a snowy field.

Rumors circulated that a serial killer was roaming free and killing several members of the academy. As a former detective, August Landon (Christian Bale) is then given the task of investigating and catching the killer.

But sadly, all is not going as it seems at the academy. With a dark story and past, Landon slowly reveals a convoluted network of problems. Meanwhile. a young cadet helps him solve a never-ending puzzle.

The Pale Blue Eyes Movie Review

The story is pale, dark, and full of snow

the pale blue eyes (2023)

As the title suggests, ‘The Pale Blue Eye’ presents a dark and tense atmosphere throughout the film. Starting the story with a figure hanging in the thick fog, this film looks promising from the start. Not only in the first half, the gloom is maintained until the end of the story. Not to mention the horror feel that the director built through a mix of pale colors; dim candlelight, torturous white snow, and sad brown wood.

This film is like the appearance of snow does not only bring happiness, or build romantic feelings. In the cold of the day, terror and murder continue to occur at West Point. As if adjusting to the situation, Bale also successfully appeared as a mysterious detective full of secrets. His character, who is gloomy, doesn’t talk much, and is cold, manages to fool the audience.

His charm is quite stunning as an all-knowing investigator, thinking August is so good at solving puzzles. In fact, he always plays in a game full of deception. Stories with slow plots, full of intrigue and drama, are not obstacles to entertaining. Instead, the audience is lulled by a mystery that is not revealed until the last minute.

Present a new perception of Poe

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As already explained, ‘The Pale Blue Eye’ also presents an iconic character in the world of literature, namely Edgar Allan Poe (Harry Melling). For those who don’t know, Poe is a famous writer because of his dark works. Dealing with departure, death, and solitude, Poe is often described as a mysterious human being.

But in this film, Poe is shown naturally like a normal poet who has a million beautiful words in the past. His background is indeed sad, but that doesn’t mean he seems like a man who is always pitied. Poe’s character is actually easy to like and looks good-natured. The difference is much different if you see his poetry is so dark.

A talented detective who spins stories

the pale blue eyes (2023)

Landon is a private detective, who lives a simple and happy life. Unfortunately, his life begins to no longer be the same when his wife dies and his son commits suicide. The trauma of loss and a sense of revenge overwhelm Landon, to the point where he is determined to do things that are not commendable.

The fake sincerity that can be seen from his face can make the audience be fooled by who the main actor is. There was a high possibility that they might have guessed Melling as the main killer. In fact, he never had anything to do with terror and murder that occurred

It took a long time to understand why Landon seemed to know everything for sure. He not only guessed, but was even involved as the main mastermind. The execution was quite a relief, when Poe decided to let go of Landon’s grudge just like that.

The Pale Blue Eyes Conclusion

Even so, this film is also not perfect. Some scenes seem forced and too sudden. Quite entertaining, but ‘The Pale Blue Eye’ is not a light show that can be enjoyed when you want to relax.


Zephyrine is an experienced film critic who has worked for many magazines and websites specializing in cinema. She has a deep education in film history and theory, as well as a passion for classic and independent films. Writing style: Zephyrine always evaluates films objectively and honestly, not influenced by external factors such as the fame of actors or directors. She often focuses on the content, screenplay, technique, and personal feelings to provide insights and reviews of the film. Her writing style is easy to understand and familiar to readers, but also professional and profound. Notable articles: "Step Up" - Success comes from the perseverance and relentless effort of young people "The Social Network" - A fantastic documentary film about the birth of Facebook "Moonlight" - A touching story about love and the essence of humanity "Nomadland" - A poignant journey of a mature woman "Parasite" - A sensational film of Korean cinema with profound social messages.

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