Christian Bale's new Netflix movie The Pale Blue Eye is being called everything from "silly" to "smart"

Christian Bale in The Pale Blue Eye
(Image credit: Netflix)

After a brief stint in limited theaters over the holiday period, period horror-thriller The Pale Blue Eye arrived on Netflix on January 6.  

Christian Bale plays Augustus Landor, a veteran detective hired to solve a series of murders that took place in 1830 at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York. He's helped by a young cadet who will later become a world-famous author – Edgar Allan Poe, the master of gothic fiction, played by The Queen's Gambit's Harry Melling. The cast also includes Gillian Anderson, Toby Jones, and Timothy Spall. 

"While the picture looks wonderfully atmospheric throughout, with its frostbitten monochromes and consumptive colour palette, the story disintegrates into a lurid and rather silly final act," writes The Observer (opens in new tab).

The Telegraph (opens in new tab) praises the movie's sound, but feels the film is lacking in other areas: "Howard Shore’s routinely excellent moody scores helps our wend through the wilderness. But the irony, for a would-be-macabre mystery about hearts being ripped out, is a flatlined pulse and a puzzling absence of red meat."

As for The Hollywood Reporter (opens in new tab), their review reads: "It’s one of those handsomely mounted period pieces that should get under your skin; instead, it slumps from scene to scene with little momentum or tension, remaining just this side of inert."

However, according to The Jewish Chronicle (opens in new tab), "If you put aside the frankly risible big reveal, the film still manages to be smarter and more original than most of the countless B movies produced by Hollywood right now."

The Pale Blue Eye is streaming on Netflix now. For more viewing inspiration, fill out your watch list with our guide to all the best upcoming movies in 2023 and beyond.

Entertainment Writer

I’m an Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, covering everything film and TV-related across the Total Film and SFX sections. I help bring you all the latest news and also the occasional feature too. I’ve previously written for publications like HuffPost and i-D after getting my NCTJ Diploma in Multimedia Journalism.