Another month, another Netflix murder mystery that’ll briefly dip into theaters before arriving on the streaming service a couple weeks later, bringing with it all the usual whodunnits and wheredunnits and, occasinoally, whydunnits. In this case, we’re talking about Scott Cooper’s The Pale Blue Eye, in which Christian Bale will have to employ his Bale Blue Eyes to solve a conundrum in 1830s New England. Netflix released a new trailer for the film today, reminding us all that, yes, this is the movie where Christian Bale teams up with Edgar Allan Poe to solve an old-timey murder.
Okay, so Bale is technically teaming up with actor Harry Melling as Poe, even if the people cutting the trailer clearly thought Melling looked off-putting enough here for them to go ahead and add a special credit informing audiences that, yeah, he’s supposed to be Edgar Allen Poe. Who, in this case, is 21 years old and so pre-Raven, enrolled as a student at New York’s West Point Academy. But, wouldn’t you know it, occult murders come a knockin’, and so he ends up joining forces with Bale’s Detective Augustus Landor, whose penetrating stare gives the film its title.
Based on Louis Bayard’s 2006 novel of the same name, The Pale Blue Eye actually looks pretty fun (for a dour, moody definition of fun, at least). It’s always nice to see Bale lose himself in one of these grizzled, soft-spoken powerhouse types, and the basic historical fiction hook is certainly solid. We weren’t especially wild about Cooper’s last two movies, Antlers and the similarly Bale-starring Hostiles, but maybe this is a situation of mo’ Poe, fewer problems. We’ll know more when The Pale Blue Eye arrives in theaters on December 23, ahead of a Netflix release on January 6.