‘The Pale Blue Eye’: A Slow-Building Netflix Murder Mystery

*This article contains spoilers for the Netflix film “The Pale Blue Eye.”

“The Pale Blue Eye,” adapted from the novel of the same name by Louis Bayard, is a murder mystery movie set in the 1800s on a military base. 

The story of “The Pale Blue Eye” begins when the murder happens and sends everyone into a frenzy, wondering who’s next. A detective named Landor (Christian Bale) then comes to West Point to investigate the murder. Upon arriving and inspecting the first crime scene, Superintendent Thayer (Timothy Spall) tells Landor to keep quiet because he fears the news will spread fear to other cadets. Since Landor is silenced, he must figure out how to narrow down his suspect list while investigating the murder. He meets a cadet who will help him with his investigation named Edgar Allen Poe, a poet. Poe is portrayed by Harry Melling, who actually served in the war in the 1800s. However, the murder that this story is centered on is entirely fiction.

Courtesy of Netflix.

Landor asks Edgar for help as Edgar admits that he has no ties to the victim. Edgar begins his investigation by talking to his fellow officers. Landor investigates the body, the crime scene and the victim’s belongings. When he arrives to see the body, he is informed that it is missing the heart. He finds a piece of paper in the victim’s hand after inspecting the body more, which becomes vital to unlocking the truth behind the murder. Using this piece of paper, Landor and Edgar will figure out the murderer by examining the penmanship and considering motives. But first, they must decipher the piece of paper to find a clue about where the murderer has gone. The piece of paper only has limited information because it is ripped. During their investigation, they learn more about each other and find out where the other’s strengths are. They then prove their theories to be correct by putting the pieces together.

Courtesy of Netflix.

“The Pale Blue Eye” is a great movie to watch if you’re interested in a slow-building mystery. However, I would not personally watch this movie again as I became distracted and felt it was moving a bit too slowly. Although I did immediately recognize Harry Melling (from “Harry Potter” and “The Queen’s Gambit”) as Edgar Allen Poe, I wouldn’t have thought he would play that character or that he would fit the features of Edgar Allen Poe. I wasn’t shocked by the ending as I could figure out the clues throughout the film. I would only recommend this movie to people who are interested in this specific genre of film.

You can find “The Pale Blue Eye” on Netflix and in theaters. 

By Ayla Hooper

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