A candlelit murder mystery set in the winter of 1830 at the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. The gruesome murder of a cadet has shaken even the most battle-hardy officer, who in turn, well, turn to retired detective Augustus Landor (a brilliant Christian Bale) to find the killer.
Things get darker and more frantic quickly, after the murder and mutilation of not only some lifestock but also another cadet. Aided by Edgar Allen Poe (yes, that Edgar Allen Poe), Landor must solve the mystery before more people end up dead.
The movie is mostly driven by atmosphere and, frankly, the performances of Bale and Harry Melling (as Poe). Even though the cast lists a fair number of big names, these two make The Pale Blue Eye worth watching. Their roles are supported by a beautiful setting, which brings home a tragic tale of despair and loss. While this is definitely not the best gothic mystery — it can barely be called a gothic horror — it is still an enjoyable watch if you’re a fan of this kind of film.
Another fine element is the representation of Poe, who already has a lot of tragedy surrounding him and is only just becoming the fabled writer and poet we know he will be.
The Pale Blue Eye is streaming on Netflix.