Christian Bale has dropped himself in almost every movie setting and role you can think of. He’s thrown on a plastic poncho and axe-murdered in American Psycho. He’s squeezed into the Batsuit and prowled Gotham City in The Dark Knight Trilogy. He’s trotted around in Boston boxing rings and jumped out windows in The Fighter. Now Bale will be investigating murder in gothic-themed 19th century New York and teaming up with Edgar Allan Poe.
Based on the 2006 novel of the same name by Louis Bayard, The Pale Blue Eye, will be streaming on Netflix and released to select theaters. The movie is written and directed by Scott Cooper, who is no stranger to the thriller/horror genre. Cooper co-wrote and directed the 2021 supernatural thriller Antlers. The filmmaker has paired with Christian Bale before in the solid revenge thriller Out of the Furnace and the western Hostiles. The director also helmed Jeff Bridges’ Oscar-winning turn in Crazy Heart.
Here’s everything we know so far about the Pale Blue Eye.
The Pale Blue Eye: The Plot
The novel’s story follows a detective pulled out of retirement to investigate the murder of a cadet at West Point Academy in 1830. The character, Augustus Landor, encounters a young Edgar Allan Poe and teams up with the investigative prodigy to solve the case.
We don’t know much more about the film’s plot, but the novel offers more detail of the original story. The back cover description of the HarperCollins book, as well as the synopsis, give an extremely grim, chilling, and gory look into the source material for The Pale Blue Eye. It reads:
“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.At a loss for answers and desperate to avoid any negative publicity, the Academy calls on the services of a local civilian, Augustus Landor, a former police detective who acquired some renown during his years in New York City before retiring to the Hudson Highlands for his health. Now a widower, and restless in his seclusion, Landor agrees to take on the case. As he questions the dead man’s acquaintances, he finds an eager assistant in a moody, intriguing young cadet with a penchant for drink, two volumes of poetry to his name, and a murky past that changes from telling to telling. The cadet’s name? Edgar Allan Poe.Impressed with Poe’s astute powers of observation, Landor is convinced that the poet may prove useful — if he can stay sober long enough to put his keen reasoning skills to the task. Working in close contact, the two men — separated by years but alike in intelligence — develop a surprisingly deep rapport as their investigation takes them into a hidden world of secret societies, ritual sacrifices, and more bodies. Soon, however, the macabre murders and Landor’s own buried secrets threaten to tear the two men and their newly formed friendship apart.”
The Pale Blue Eye sounds like something Poe himself would have penned by candlelight with its gothic setting and bloody backstory.
The Pale Blue Eye: The Cast
Christian Bale leads the cast of the Pale Blue Eye as detective Augustus Landor, who, from other descriptions of the novel, is widowed, retired due to illness, and going stir-crazy. The character wants to get back into the thick of an investigation, and the West Point Academy case is the perfect opportunity to dust off his deductive skills.
While details about the other characters have mostly not been revealed, the film boasts some legendary names. Gillian Anderson (X-Files) gets back into the supernatural saddle in an unnamed role. Robert Duvall will also make an appearance in the movie, as well as Toby Jones (Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom) and Timothy Spall (Spencer). The only other named character is that of the master of the macabre himself, Edgar Allan Poe, who is played by Harry Melling (The Queen’s Gambit).
The cast is rounded out with Charlie Tahan (Ozark), Hadley Robinson (Utopia), Brennan Keel Cook (Take the Night), Fred Hechinger (The White Lotus), and others.
The Pale Blue Eye will see a limited theatrical release on December 23, 2022, presumably to sneak into the Oscar race at the last minute. It will then stream on Netflix on January 6, 2023. Although there is very little detail about the film so far, with its cast, director, and Poe-inspired mayhem, The Pale Blue Eye has a lot of promise to be a gothic horror classic.