The Pale Blue Eye (Movie Review) | Haunting and Beautiful Yet not much of a Mystery

One of the weird things about this movie is, that its director Scott Cooper, is one whose name I didn’t know but I’d heard of his movies. He’s adaptating here’s Louis Bayard‘s 2003 book of the same name. What drew me to this movie is the ensemble cast, namely Christian Bale, Harry Melling, Gillian Anderson, Toby Jones, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Lucy Boynton, Timothy Spall, Simon McBurney, Harry Lawtey, Fred Hechinger, and Robert Duvall to name a few.

Premise: At West Point Academy in 1830, the calm of an October evening is shattered by the discovery of a young cadet’s body swinging from a rope just off the parade grounds. An apparent suicide is not unheard of in a harsh regimen like West Point’s, but the next morning, an even greater horror comes to light. Someone has stolen into the room where the body lay and removed the heart.

Review: If you’ve been here before you know that I don’t seek horror movies – that’s how the movie was listed – but The Pale blue Eye is one that I can watch. It’s atmospheric and dark, but not as scary as I’d fear. It’s more of a gothic thriller than a horror film. The first striking thing about the movie is its beauty, the colors and cinematography are amazing, and it pulls you into the era and the place in a very effective way.

The second and last thing that caught my eye was the acting. In particular, Melling’s acting, the whole cast is full of great award-winning character actors – most of which are brits playing Americans, not something that I often noticed but here it struck – and they do an amazing job. Yet, Melling has a haunting quality in his that drew me in.

As for the story itself, I’m curious to see how it’s crafted in the book because here I wasn’t as much engaged with the mystery as I was with the performances and the look of the film. My mind wasn’t working at figuring out who was behind the crimes, so when it was revealed and the surprise came I was nonplussed. Maybe I missed some somethings but as the revelations were made they falt like a tale rather than something that was properly hinted at. It’s one of the reasons why I’ll check the book out once I feel there’s been enough distance with this film.

Rating: 6.5 out of 10.

If you’re interested in the source material by Louis Bayard, help us by getting them from the links below:

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