Tis’ but spoilers and nothing more.
We were almost there. There’s nothing that takes me out of the experience of watching a film as to recognize an abrupt change in the storytelling, may it be theme, style or just a rushed plot. I truly sank into the world created by this film. The character building plus the performances of its main cast are both very solid until its last act. Actually that last act is also when a few things go awry to the point that… Let’s not jump ahead. Let’s begin.
The Pale Blue Eye (2022) is written and directed by Scott Cooper, based on the book by Louis Bayard. Circa 1830, retired constable Augustus Landor (Christian Bale) is called upon to solve the murder of a cadet at the West Point Academy. Aiding in the task, is a young but brilliant cadet named Edgar A. Poe (Harry Melling). Although initially considered a suicide by hanging, a gruesome act was committed as the heart has been removed post mortem.
I soaked in the world and characters of this film. Rather than focus on any progress or detective prowess of its characters, I was far more interested in the interactions of its cast. Christian Bale’s Landor is well crafted (I’m going to put a pin here…) and his interactions with the curiously brilliant but amazing well executed performance of Harry Melling’s Poe are extremely entertaining. Actually because of this, I was hoping for an above-than-average conclusion. I must also warn you that Gillian Anderson is rather scarcely featured in the film, and not given much to work with.
There’s basically two finales, and might I say I hated the first one more than the last. The conclusion is extremely messy and without much satisfaction. Any facet of murder mystery go out the window replaced by a rather ridiculous plot contrivance involving satanic rituals, a completely unnecessary cliche executed rather poorly. The second finale, and even more convoluted explanation makes less of a mess by being mostly exposition. It changes the focus of the story, the motivations behind the acts and although it makes the entire affair more personal, it doesn’t add anything but agenda on what is now already resolved. It would have been infinitely more satisfying if it tied any lose ends brought up during the narration rather than just this extra layer of revenge at the end.
Recommended with reservations. I did find Harry Melling’s performance as Edgar A. Poe rather compelling. Christian Bale’s Landor is also well executed but for the last act which feels unnecessary. The conclusion is messy, and the real ending feels tacked on. I’d still say that Harry Melling’s performance is worth the price of admission. Worth a watch, although do not get your hopes too high up for the mystery’s resolution.
That will do for now.