Netflix's upcoming Poe picture gets a huge cast boost with several formidable talents on the big screen. The Gothic horror film "The Pale Blue Eye" is directed by Scott Cooper (he of the taut 2021 Wendigo horror "Antlers"), who also adapted the screenplay from Louis Bayard's novel of the same title. It stars Christian Bale and Harry Melling, along with some new additions to the cast including Gillian Anderson ("Sex Education"), Robert Duvall ("The Apostle"), and Timothy Spall ("Spencer"). Lucy Boynton, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Toby Jones, and Harry Lawtey have also joined the cast.
The film centers around a series of military academy murders at West Point in 1830, and one young cadet named Edgar Allan Poe. The synopsis for the book is as follows:
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. The next morning, an even greater horror comes to light. Someone has removed the dead man's heart. Augustus Landor—who acquired some renown in his years as a New York City police detective—is called in to discreetly investigate. It's a baffling case Landor must pursue in secret, for the scandal could do irreparable damage to the fledgling institution. But he finds help from an unexpected ally—a moody, 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 strange and haunted Southern poet for whom Landor develops a fatherly affection, is named Edgar Allan Poe.
A Hanging On A Midnight Dreary
Melling plays the lead role of macabre poet and writer Edgar Allan Poe, whose short stories and dark poems have influenced writers for generations since his death in 1849. His stories have found their way into everything from feature-length Roger Corman adaptations to a "Saw V" trap pulled from Poe's "The Pit and the Pendulum" (said trap was also used — though not with the Jigsaw killer touch — in "The Black Cat" segment of George A. Romero and Dario Argento's 1990 anthology "Two Evil Eyes"). And the real Poe did indeed attend West Point as a cadet … for a few months, before intentionally catching a court-martial. That's not the focal point of this mystery-thriller, but as someone who lives for drama and military non-compliance, I'm all in for this movie. As far as fictionalizations of the famous bard go, this one seems unique enough to warrant a watch.
Netflix will host the film, which is produced by John Lesher and Tyler Thompson of Cross Creek Pictures ("The Trial of the Chicago 7") alongside Bale and Cooper. For the latter pair, this will be their third time working together. Their previous collaborations include "Hostiles" and "Out of the Furnace." Dylan Weathered and Tracey Landon share an executive producer credit.
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