Preview: ‘The Pale Blue Eye’ (2022)

A look at Scott Cooper's newest upcoming release. With promise of dark intrigue, mystery and a stellar cast.

Matthew Barratt
22nd November 2022
Scott Cooper’s The Pale Blue Eye is icy in appearance and dark in subject matter, an attempt at a brutally harsh period piece boasting an impressive ensemble cast.

Actors, Christian Bale (American Psycho, The Fighter, Amsterdam) and Harry Melling (The Queen’s Gambit, Harry Potter, The Devil All The Time) star in Scott Cooper’s adaptation of Louis Bayard’s 2006 novel. Accompanying Bale and Melling is a powerful collection of reputable supporting actors such as , Robert Duvall (Apocalypse Now, To Kill A Mockingbird) and Timothy Spall (The King’s Speech, Spencer) as well as actresses Gillian Anderson (Hannibal, The Crown) and Charlotte Gainsbourg (Nymphomaniac, Antichrist).

Cooper is prioritizing atmospheric immersion in terms of setting and tone

The Pale Blue Eye invokes the gothic and the mysterious. Director Scott Cooper sets the film in West Point, 1830. A local Detective, Augustus Landor, is recruited to make sense of a suspicious murder and during the investigation, he makes the acquaintance of a cadet whom he enlists the help of; a well-spoken young man called Edgar Allen Poe. From the trailers it can be inferred that Cooper is prioritizing atmospheric immersion in terms of setting and tone; the film’s historical roots merging with the harsh coldness of the winter elements to craft an intense cinematic experience akin to a Robert Eggers feature.

The Pale Blue Eye isn’t a work of non-fiction, yet the inclusion of Poe evidently is, to an extent. Poe is widely regarded as a literary icon and considered to be a pioneer of the mystery genre. The film and its source material are, therefore, metafictional in nature, calling back to the influence of Poe through the film’s premise and execution as a gothic mystery whilst immortalizing him in the film as an eccentric young cadet to act as an aid to Landor.

In this regard, Cooper’s film is ambitious, with the intriguing source material, its cinematic execution as seen in the trailers and Cooper’s impressive cast making it a much-anticipated release.

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