Netflix and director Scott Cooper will take audiences along for a chilling whodunit next month with the release of The Pale Blue Eye in theaters. The film sees the death of a military cadet turn into a frightening case of murder that threatens the entirety of the fledgling West Point academy. Before Christian Bale can start his investigation for the savage behind the crime, the streamer released a new poster showing him wandering the cold, gray woods in search of answers.
The Pale Blue Eye is based on the book of the same name by Louis Bayard which centers on the death of a cadet in the early morning hours outside West Point military academy in the winter. Foul play is immediately afoot as, upon an investigation of the body, it’s revealed the young man’s heart has been removed with frightening precision. To keep the incident under wraps and preserve the academy’s reputation, local detective August Landor (Bale) takes the case. He finds that getting information from the other cadets is near impossible and instead teams up with a young, eccentric cadet with more love for poetry than military life named Edgar Allen Poe (Harry Melling) to solve the case.
Bale looks beaten down in the poster, with a weary look as he trudges through the woods in the winter. In the background, however, is a silhouette of another person with a lantern out in the wilderness. With no real discernable details aside from their hat, it could be anyone. Considering they’re out in the woods with the detective though, they’re either on the case or the one behind it all.
Inspired by his father and his love for all things Poe, Cooper has been working on an adaptation of The Pale Blue Eye for some time, always imagining his friend Bale playing the lead role. The two previously collaborated for Out of the Furnace and Hostiles, but this turn was years in the making. “At the time that I was writing it, Christian Bale, who’s my closest pal and collaborator, would have been too young to play the aging and retired Constable Augustus Landor,” Cooper told Tudum in an interview. “And now he’s the perfect age.” Although Landor is the focus, the director added that the film is a sort of origin story for Poe as well as a father-son tale between the two loners. He added:
Of course this is a work of fiction, although Poe was at West Point. What I’m saying is that it’s these events that occur in our film that shaped his worldview and helped him become the writer that he became — with the recurring themes that deal with the questions of death and the effects of decomposition and reanimation of the dead and mourning; all those are considered part of his dark romanticism.
Who Else Is in The Pale Blue Eye?
Bale and Melling lead a cast that also features Gillian Anderson, Lucy Boynton, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Toby Jones, Harry Lawtey, Simon McBurney, Hadley Robinson, Timothy Spall, Joey Brooks, Brennan Cook, Gideon Glick, Fred Hechinger, Matt Helm, Jack Irving, Steven Maier, Charlie Tahan, and Robert Duvall. Bale also joined Cooper, Tyler Thompson, and John Lesher as a producer while executive producers include the author Bayard alongside Tracey Landon, Dylan Weathered, Chris Sharp, Jennifer Lamb, Emily Salveson, and Ryan Smith.
The Pale Blue Eye will enjoy a limited run in theaters starting before Christmas on December 23 before reaching Netflix next year on January 6. Check out the new poster and trailer below.