The writer and director scott cooper may be the perfect interpreter for the Netflix adaptation of the crimes of the academy (The Pale Blue Eye), a 2003 detective novel by writer Louis Bayard about a series of grisly murders from the 1830s investigated by a retired police detective and his young assistant, Edgar Allan Poe. After antlersfrom 2021 – a popular Cooper horror tale adapted from a short story by nick anthosca about monsters, real and imagined-, “Blue Eye” seems the ideal companion: an elegant and intelligent narration of what is basically a macabre farce.
Speaking of heart, the film gets down to business with the discovery of a dead body, missing that critical organ, on the campus of the United States Military Academy, where some may recall that the real Poe was a cadet during the year in question. When the school leadership enlists a local law enforcement legend to investigate the crime – brooding and damaged ex-cop Augustus “Gus” Landor – Gus almost immediately enlists the help of Edgar, a West Point student who He shares with him the ability to drink huge amounts of alcohol, a predilection for melancholy, and a fascination for criminal psychology. Performed, respectively, by Christian bale Y Harry Melling, the two detectives – a kind of American Holmes and Watson – do not take long to get down to work; while other victims, animals and humans, appear with their hearts torn out.
Both actors are great fun to watch, for very different reasons. Bale, who had already worked with Cooper on The law of the strongest Y Hostiles: American violence, brings a methodical intensity to the character of Gus, haunted by demons, as detectives often do in the movies. Edgar, for his part, is a morbid poet, although Melling gives him an air that is both mischievous and lustful. Melling’s portrayal of the budding writer—and, in this case, amateur detective—is one of the film’s greatest delights. Aided by a wig and makeup, Melling also bears an uncanny physical resemblance to the writer, through his portrayal of him eschewing cliché.
In supporting roles, Toby Jones, Timothy Spall, Gillian Anderson, Charlotte Gainsbourg and an almost unrecognizable Robert Duvallin the role of an occult expert, are all great fun.
However, it sometimes feels like you’re watching an overstuffed B-movie, especially as the plot veers into supernatural territory, or at least as some of the more gullible characters in the story They imagine how the world works. It has the whiff of a Poe story: inscrutable and mysterious. Filtered through Bayard’s modern lens, it nonetheless retains an admirable residue of nineteenth-century flavor.
Where the crimes of the academy is most successful is in the way it shows how Edgar – who had not yet become the writer of macabre, moody atmosphere and delicious morbidity that we remember – got some of his enduring ideas about the coexistence of depravity and beauty. The film only stumbles when it succumbs, here and there, to the more trivial tropes and scares of the contemporary thriller.
Source: The Washington Post