Monday, October 2, 2023

Two Paragraph Review: The Pale Blue Eye (2022)

Out of the name of this movie, the adjective “pale” resonates more with the entire work than the “blue”. Somehow, despite the fact that it features the always amazing Christian Bale and is directed by the accomplished Scott Cooper, The Pale Blue Eye still ends up feeling as colorless as many of its early 19th century leading female roles in their age-appropriate makeup. So far, Cooper made some impressive movies, even though none were perfect, but most starred Bale. Out of the Furnace is a good example of the same trend. Black Mass, which Cooper also directed, shows a similar recipe but one that is significantly less impactful.

In his latest film, the initial murder mystery, taking place at West Point, quickly dissolves into a series of personal dramas and individual tribulation, but with no clear focus point. Among the cast, Harry Melling establishes himself as a dominant character of Edgar Allan Poe, but seemingly not so much by directorial design, but by his skill and unique delivery of the young, brilliant but very odd poet. In the process, Bale kind of fades out only to return at the very end in a twist which strikes very few cords with the emotions of the audience. Instead, The Pale Blue Eye turns into just a simple Pale film.