‘The Pale Blue Eye’ Is a Macabre Mystery That Keeps Viewers Guessing

The Pale Blue Eye immediately kicks off by grabbing the attention of viewers, and then keeps them guessing the whole way through. Even with some pacing issues, it is a must-see movie for those who love a good mystery.


Starring the incredible Christian Bale as Detective Augustus Landor, this film will have audiences on the edge of their seats as they try to put the pieces together before he does. The set design and costumes add to the dark and macabre style of it all, which is only heightened by the inclusion of a young cadet played by Harry Melling who is destined to become the famed Edgar Allen Poe.

The dark and dreary mood is set instantaneously in The Pale Blue Eye as it is a foggy morning when the body of a cadet is found hanging from a tree. It doesn't take long for it to become clear this death was under suspicious and malicious circumstances. What follows is two hours of twists and turns through satanic rituals, horrible secrets, and unexpected reveals. Just when you think you have it figured out, it will be proven that you do not.

A Decent, But Drawn Out, Plot

The plot itself is going to hook most viewers right from the very first scene. Things only get crazier and more exciting as the pieces all come together. This is a form of a who-done-it but it becomes more and more creepy and dark the longer it goes on. Twists and turns will keep the audience guessing and the odds of anyone figuring the whole thing out — TRULY figuring it out — is slim to none.

Clocking in at just over two hours long, this film is not without a drawn out middle. It is a slow burn, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but viewers with low to no patience will likely be checking their watches wondering when the big reveal will happen. Luckily, the completely shocking ending more than makes up for the length of time it takes to get there.

The Pale Blue Eye even encourages re-watches to discover the hints along the way. It is likely to stand the test of time, as many will watch it time and time again, trying to pick up on things they missed before.

Dark and Dreary, Yet Beautiful

One of the best things about this film is just how stunning it is. It perfectly captures the darkness of anything that Edgar Allen Poe's name is attached to. And while Melling does a great job as Poe, this really is Augustus Landor's story. There is no mistaking that he is the lead. In fact, Melling's character could easily have had another name and it wouldn't really change much about the story. Adding him in though takes things to a whole new level.

The set design and the costumes help to capture the eerie feel that the filmmakers were clearly going for. Shot after shot is absolutely gorgeous, but at the same time will set viewers on edge because they won't know what to expect next.

Incredible Cast Chemistry

Put aside just how beautiful and captivating this film is, and the best thing about The Pale Blue Eye is the chemistry between Bale and Melling. Christian Bale always delivers an incredible performance; really is no surprise There. He gives his all to this role. So much so that many viewers will have goosebumps during the last twenty minutes or so when things all come together and he gives fans a powerhouse of a performance.

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Melling holds his own opposite Bale, and the best moments on screen are the ones when they share it. The way that they work together, play off of each other, and even jab at each other throughout the film is what works so well with their relationship. Melling closely resembles Poe in looks, but he brings an eeriness to his character that will send shivers down anyone's spine. He is quirky, but also very lovable, in The Pale Blue Eye.

The thing is, even with exceptional lead performances, the supporting characters can ruin a film if they are not cast right. Luckily The Pale Blue Eye has great supporting actors as well. Everyone does a great job, but Toby Jones as Dr. Marquis and Gillian Anderson as Julia Marquis steal almost every scene they are in. They are wonderful additions to the cast, and help to tell the story in a subtle, but captivating, way.

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Overall Thoughts

The Pale Blue Eye is an intriguing mystery right from the start. It is intense and suspenseful as twist and turns hurl themselves at viewers, who will have a hard time putting the pieces together. It is the incredible performances and the wonderful set design that make this movie work as well as it does.

There are some issues with the pacing, but the “shorter” runtime of just over two hours is appreciated in a year that has been filled with movies that are far too long. Bale and Melling are both phenomenal on screen and have some of the best chemistry we have seen this year.

If you love a good mystery, with a dark and ominous feel, The Pale Blue Eye is a must watch. It hits Netflix on January 6th after playing in select theaters starting December 30th.

Rating: 7/10 SPECS

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This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.

Tessa Smith owns MamasGeeky.com and is a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer-approved Film and TV Critic and a huge geek. Tessa has been in the Entertainment writing business for almost ten years and is a member of several Critics associations including the Critics Choice Association and the Greater Western New York Film Critics Association. She grew up watching movies, playing video games, and reading comic books -- and still loves all of those things. She proudly lets her geek flag fly and spreads the word that there is nothing wrong with being a geek.