Netflix movie ‘The Pale Blue Eye’ filmed near Pittsburgh isn’t worth the watch

Written By Steph Weiland, For The Globe

Christian Bale has again been resurrected, but not as Patrick Bateman! Instead of a sociopath and narcissistic killer like Bateman, this time Bale plays a Donald Kimball-esque character. He portrays the depressed detective Augustus Landor in the Netflix original, “The Pale Blue Eye.” The film first hit select theatres over two weeks ago, on December 23rd, but now the film has been released widely over streaming on January 6th. Directed by Scott Cooper, who previously directed the Johnny Depp and Benedict Cumberbatch-led “Black Mass,”  The film is based on the best-selling novel of the same name, “The Pale Blue Eye” written by Louis Bayard. “The Pale Blue Eye” is considered both mystery and a drama. The film is an okay adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe’s early life, focusing on when he resided at West Point as a cadet in the early 1830s. 

He came to West Point in March 1830 after quitting the army. Poe stayed at West Point till early January of 1831. The movie is a fictitious, unique take on Poe’s life focused on a period that many people do not know about. (If someone would have asked me if I thought Poe had gone to West Point, then I would’ve said, “No.” As would many other people.) The film is based on a best-selling novel of the same name written by Louis Bayard. Most of the filming for West Point had taken place at Westminster College, which is located in New Wilmington, PA. 

Some of the film was shot in McConnells Mills State Park out of Portersville, PA. which is just under an hour away from Point Park University, according to Google Maps. McConnells Mills is known not only for its mill but also for its red-covered bridge which appears in one shot of “The Pale Blue Eye”. McConnells is popular not only with locals but with tourists too. The mill had been established in the late 1860s, the Slippery Rock Creek flows beneath it. 

During filming the Moraine State Park was portrayed as the Hudson River. Moraine State Park is located in Portersville, not too far from McConnells Mills. Lake Arthur at Moraine State Park filled in for the Hudson River situated in upstate New York and is named after the late explorer Henry Hudson. Then a few scenes had been shot at Allegheny Cemetery in Lawrenceville, PA. Allegheny Cemetery is regarded as one of Pennsylvania’s traditional and essential cemeteries. The cemetery first unlocked its doors to the people in 1844 just fourteen years after this filming is meant to have taken place. 

Overall, this film lasted for a total of two hours and eight minutes. Just two hours and eight minutes too long I’d say. Not even a direct local connection could salvage it. It was rather odd and a bit too much toward the end of the film. I was not really a major fan of this film myself, but it’s not the worst offering Netflix has made.

As an aside, apparently, John Fetterman and his wife Gisele were supposed to make a quick cameo in one scene, but I did not see them. There are images of them on set, but the cameo was either slimmed down or a blink and you’ll miss it-moment.

I would rate this two and a half stars out of five stars myself. For those who have not seen this film yet, it’s rated R due to some distressing content and some gory images. So as they say, view discretion is advised. Visually, the uniforms of the cadets were pretty, but the blue looked quite synthetic. The uniforms would have fit the color palette better in forest green. The visuals and the scenery were much more intriguing than the plot overall. 

Bale’s character is a rather sad character, especially all that he has gone through as the movie progresses. Poe has a love interest that later seems to fizzle out much like the film altogether. It almost seems like this was released on the anniversary of the Capitol riots on purpose.