Copyright Notice: It’s easy to see when our selected quotes have been copied and pasted, as you’re also copying our format, mistakes, and movie scene descriptions. If you decide to copy from us please be kind and either link back, or refer back to our site. Please check out our copyright policies here. Thanks!
Starring: Christian Bale, Harry Melling, Gillian Anderson, Lucy Boynton, Toby Jones, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Harry Lawtey, Simon McBurney, Timothy Spall, Fred Hechinger, Hadley Robinson, Joey Brooks, Brennan Keel Cook, Gideon Glick, Matt Helm, Steven Maier, Charlie Tahan
OUR RATING: ★★★★☆
Netflix horror mystery written and directed by Scott Cooper. Set in 1830, The Pale Blue Eye (2022) follows Augustus Landor (Christian Bale), a world-weary detective is hired to discreetly investigate the gruesome murder of a cadet at the United States Military Academy in West Point. Stymied by the cadets code of silence, he enlists one of their own to help unravel the case, a young man the world would come to know as Edgar Allan Poe (Harry Melling).
Our Favorite Quotes:'Down, down, down came the hot thrashing flurry. Endless night caught her then in its slurry. Shrouding all, but her pale blue eye. Darkest night, black with hell, charneled fury. Leaving only that deathly blue eye.' Click To Tweet
Captain Hitchcock: Mr. Landor, we are obliged to proceed with extreme discretion. We’re looking for someone. A private citizen of well-documented industry and tact who might carry out inquiries on the Academy’s behalf.
Superintendent Thayer: We have been specifically charged with the care of these young men, to make them gentlemen and soldiers, and to that end, we drive them. But we’d like to think we know when to stop driving them.
Augustus Landor: A boy hangs himself, that’s a matter for the coroner.
Captain Hitchcock: I’m afraid that’s not the end of it. Cadet Fry’s body was violated last night in the hospital ward.
Augustus Landor: Violated? By whom?
Captain Hitchcock: Well, if we knew that, we would have had no need to summon you.
Augustus Landor: What type of fella could do this?
Dr. Daniel Marquis: A strong one.
Augustus Landor: Not a woman, then?
Dr. Daniel Marquis: No woman as I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting, no.
Dr. Daniel Marquis: It wouldn’t have to be a doctor or a surgeon. It’d have to be…
Superintendent Thayer: A madman! And still out there.
Superintendent Thayer: There are certain powerful senators in Washington who would like nothing more than to see us fail utterly, to shut us down. I’m asking you to help save the honor of the United States Military Academy.
Augustus Landor: And save it, I’ll try.
Captain Hitchcock: Someone murdered Mr. Fry. Is this what you’re telling us, Mr. Landor?
Augustus Landor: You might be onto something there, Captain Hitchcock.
Cadet Edgar Allan Poe: [to Landon] The man you’re looking for is a poet.
Benny: Benny knows a man who’s in need of a drink when he sees one.
Augustus Landor: The very sight of it warms my blood.
'The people we lost are always with us.' - Patsy (The Pale Blue Eye) Click To Tweet
Patsy: Did you hear about that poor cadet? They say it took him hours to die.
Augustus Landor: “They”?
Patsy: [indicating to Poe] Him.
Cadet Edgar Allan Poe: Fourth Classman Poe. E. A. Poe. Edgar A. Poe.
Augustus Landor: Worked up quite a thirst, I see.
Cadet Edgar Allan Poe: Helps take the bite off the gloom.
Augustus Landor: Why do you think that the man who cut Leroy Fry’s heart out was a poet?
Cadet Edgar Allan Poe: Well, the heart is a symbol, or it is nothing. Now take away the symbol, and what do you have? It’s a fistful of muscle of no more aesthetic interest than a bladder. Now, to remove a man’s heart is to traffic in symbol. And who better equipped for such labor than a poet?
Augustus Landor: Awfully literal-minded poet, it would seem.
Cadet Edgar Allan Poe: Oh, you cannot pretend that this act of savagery did not startle the literary resonances from the very crevices of your mind.
Augustus Landor: Then we might just as easily be seeking a religious maniac.
Cadet Edgar Allan Poe: No, you see, I neglected to tell you that I am a poet myself, hence inclined to think as one.
Augustus Landor: I don’t get around to poetry much.
Cadet Edgar Allan Poe: Why should you? You’re an American.
Augustus Landor: And you?
Cadet Edgar Allan Poe: An artist. That is to say, without country.
'Man will do most anything to cheat death.' - Patsy (The Pale Blue Eye) Click To Tweet
Captain Hitchcock: “A cow and sheep have been murdered and mutilated in Cold Spring. Their chests most cruelly carved open and their hearts removed.” Are any of God’s creatures immune from this man?
Augustus Landor: We don’t know that this is the same man.
Captain Hitchcock: What? Coincidence, is it?
Cadet Edgar Allan Poe: So, if this is not a discussion, what is it?
Augustus Landor: An offer of employment. There’s no pay. None of your classmates may know what you’re doing until long after you’re done with it. If they do find out, they’ll likely curse your name.
Cadet Edgar Allan Poe: Oh! An irresistible offer.
Augustus Landor: [to Poe, referring to the note] I need you to decipher this.
Cadet Edgar Allan Poe: Why would he meet a fellow cadet at the landing when you can meet him anywhere? Because it’s not a cadet, but a woman. You knew the solution all along, Mr. Landor.
Augustus Landor: I had an idea.
'I do consider death to be poetry's most exalted theme.' - Edgar Allan Poe (The Pale Blue Eye) Click To Tweet
Cadet Edgar Allan Poe: The morning after Leroy Fry’s death, before I knew anything of what had passed, I awoke, and began speaking the opening lines of a poem, lines that speak of a mysterious woman in profound distress. Then, just outside the mess, appears the most beautiful creature I’ve ever had the pleasure of laying eyes on.
Augustus Landor: Who was she?
Cadet Edgar Allan Poe: I haven’t the faintest.
Augustus Landor: But why do you believe that this poem or young woman are connected with Mr. Fry?
Cadet Edgar Allan Poe: The air of concealed violence. Unspeakable duress. An unknown woman.
Augustus Landor: You could have woken any morning and written this.
Cadet Edgar Allan Poe: But I didn’t write it. It was dictated.
Augustus Landor: Dictated? By whom?
Cadet Edgar Allan Poe: My mother. She’s dead. Dead nearly twenty years.
Patsy: [to Landon] You of all people know that the people we lost are always with us. Man will do most anything to cheat death, won’t he?
Augustus Landor: [to Poe] I need you to discretely infiltrate the cadets, see if you can ferret out which of them may have a connection to the occult.
Lieutenant Locke: You wish to be excused from class because you were feeling vertiginous?
Cadet Edgar Allan Poe: And an even worse ailment not noted. A grand ennui seizure.
Lieutenant Locke: “Grand ennui”?
Cadet Edgar Allan Poe: Of a most pronounced character.
'The dead haunt us because we love them too little. We forget them, you see. We don't mean to, but we do.' - Edgar Allan Poe (The Pale Blue Eye) Click To Tweet
Cadet Edgar Allan Poe: And your daughter is no longer here?
Augustus Landor: No. No, she ran off with someone.
Cadet Edgar Allan Poe: Someone you knew?
Augustus Landor: In passing.
Cadet Edgar Allan Poe: And she’s never to return?
Augustus Landor: Not likely.
Cadet Edgar Allan Poe: Well, then we’re both alone in this world.
Augustus Landor: But you have your mother. She still speaks to you. At any rate.
Cadet Edgar Allan Poe: Yes. Yes, from time to time. And I might add, whatever’s good in me, in person, in spirit, comes from her.
Cadet Artemus Marquis: I understand you’re a published poet.
Cadet Edgar Allan Poe: I am told I evidence a humble gift.
Cadet Edgar Allan Poe: I met a lewd nude in Bermuda, who thought she was shrewd. I was shrewder. She thought it quite crude to be wooed in the nude. I pursued her, subdued her, and screwed her.
Mrs. Julia Marquis: Well, this whole matter has shaken us.
Augustus Landor: Be assured, I won’t rest until we’ve apprehended him.
'With enough patience, the suspect will often interrogate himself.' - Augustus Landor (The Pale Blue Eye) Click To Tweet
Lea Marquis: I can’t think of any woman who wishes to be immortal.
Cadet Artemus Marquis: And what do you think of my little protégé?
Lea Marquis: I think Mr. Poe is far beyond being anyone’s protégé. He’s certainly not to be corrupted by the likes of you.
Lea Marquis: A romantic. You do enjoy talking about God and death, don’t you?
Cadet Edgar Allan Poe: I do consider death to be poetry’s most exalted theme.
'By your standard, every crime committed by a Christian will be a stain on Christ.' - Captain Hitchcock, 'And so it is.' - Augustus Landor (The Pale Blue Eye) Click To Tweet
Lea Marquis: [to Poe] How well it sits on you, morbidity. Suits you better than your uniform.
Cadet Edgar Allan Poe: There are times, I believe the dead haunt us because we love them too little. We forget them, you see. We don’t mean to, but we do. I believe they feel most cruelly deserted, and so they clamor for us. Perhaps it best we don’t give that too much thought.
Lea Marquis: [to Poe] I want you to know how grateful I was to open my eyes and find you there. To look deep within you and find something I would never have expected. Not in a thousand years.
Cadet Edgar Allan Poe: It’s always been this way. People underestimating me. Friends, classmates, my very own benefactor. Everyone. Everyone, but my dear mother.
Cadet Edgar Allan Poe: And you surprise too. Don’t you, Landor? I have no desire to offend, but you’re much more sophisticated than you present. Now, tell me, is it true, you once solicited a confession with nothing more than a piercing look?
Augustus Landor: With enough patience, the suspect will often interrogate himself.
Augustus Landor: [referring to Artemus Marquis] Perhaps he’s not our man. There’s a quality to him. To his entire family. They act like people who are guilty of something.
Patsy: Aren’t all families guilty of something?
Superintendent Thayer: My God, Landor. We’re no closer to finding who’s responsible for this than we were a month ago!
Augustus Landor: We are closer. It’s only a matter of time.
Superintendent Thayer: Have you found a single clue that might be of use? A maniac is freely roaming these hills, disemboweling my men. Men who barely carry out their duties, hardly leave their barracks, or sleep. And if they can sleep, do so with their muskets!
Augustus Landor: I’m beginning to believe you no longer think I’m competent to undertake this investigation.
Augustus Landor: [after Poe is accused of being the killer] Then arrest him. Arrest him if you are so persuaded.
Superintendent Thayer: All we have is motive. We’re looking to you to supply evidence!
Superintendent Thayer: Mr. Landor, do you harbor a latent hostility toward this Academy? Is that it?
Augustus Landor: I am risking my life on behalf of your precious institution. But, yes. I do believe that the Academy takes away a young man’s will. It fences him with regulations and rules. Deprives him of reason. It makes him less human.
Captain Hitchcock: Are you implying the Academy is to blame for these deaths?
Augustus Landor: Someone connected to the Academy, yes. Hence, the Academy itself.
Captain Hitchcock: Well, that’s absurd. By your standard, every crime committed by a Christian will be a stain on Christ.
Augustus Landor: And so it is.
Augustus Landor: Why is nothing simple with you, Poe? Where are the facts? Where are the simple facts? Yes! Or no! The truth! Did you know Leroy Fry?
Cadet Edgar Allan Poe: Yes.
Augustus Landor: There is a very disturbing pattern here, Poe. Men who cross you end up on the wrong end of a noose with rather important organs carved from their chests.
Cadet Edgar Allan Poe: Mr. Landor, if I were to kill every cadet who had abused me during my brief tenure here, I’m afraid you would find the Corp of Cadets reduced to less than a dozen.
Cadet Edgar Allan Poe: If I had a thousand lifetimes, I could not begin to address all the injuries that have been done to me. Yes, I am guilty of a great, great many things, but never that. Never murder. Now do you believe me?
Augustus Landor: I believe that you should take better care of what you say and do.
Mrs. Julia Marquis: I positively hate it when you take on like this.
Cadet Artemus Marquis: I don’t follow your drift, Mother.
Mrs. Julia Marquis: Oh, no. I’m sure you don’t. I might drift clear to the other side of the Hudson and no one would care. No one would follow!
Cadet Edgar Allan Poe: [to Lea] Well, I don’t quite know how else to put it, but I’ve come to realize that I would do most anything for you.
Captain Hitchcock: Another cadet is missing. And I’ve formed a search party ready to go within the hour. No stone will be left unturned.
Cadet Edgar Allan Poe: It came to me while I slept. Down, down, down came the hot threshing flurry. Ill at heart, I beseeched her to hurry. Lenore. She forbore the reply. Endless night caught her then in its slurry. Shrouding all, but her pale blue eye. Darkest night, black with hell, charneled fury. Leaving only that deathly blue eye.
Augustus Landor: [to Marquis] Your family. Your family have been quite a puzzle. I could never get a fix of who was in command. One time, or other I suspected each of you. It never occurred to me that it might be someone who wasn’t even alive.
Augustus Landor: [to Marquis] Does your daughter speak with the dead?!
Dr. Daniel Marquis: [referring to Artemus and Lea] They swore to me Mr. Fry was already dead. They swore they could never kill anyone.
Augustus Landor: You believed them.
Dr. Daniel Marquis: I had no choice.
Augustus Landor: [to Marquis] Doctor. Communicating with the dead, that’s not normal. But murder, destroying innocent lives, that’s inhuman. Someone has to hang for this.
Lea Marquis: [to Poe] Sacrifice is the ultimate expression of love. I knew from the moment I met you, you were the one.
Captain Hitchcock: [referring to Poe] I’m told he’s lost no more blood than a physician would have drawn in the course of a normal bleeding. Might have been the best thing for him. More to life than meets the eye, Landor, I admit.
Augustus Landor: I couldn’t agree more.
Captain Hitchcock: [to Landor] You and I could not be more dissimilar in manner, philosophy. But I wish to convey that if this business has ever rendered me, which is to say, if ever out of impertinence, I have impugned your competence, then I’m sorry.
Superintendent Thayer: Well, Landor, I declare your contractual duties fulfilled to the letter. I hereby release you from your contract. I hope that won’t displease you. At the very least, I hope you won’t object to accepting our thanks.
Cadet Edgar Allan Poe: I know about your daughter.
Augustus Landor: Very well. What does Mattie have to do with anything?
Cadet Edgar Allan Poe: Everything. As you know full well.
Cadet Edgar Allan Poe: [to Landor] Your Mattie was raped and left for dead by three nameless ruffians.
Cadet Edgar Allan Poe: [after we find out that Mattie committed suicide] Why did you never tell me?
Augustus Landor: It’s not a story I enjoy telling.
Cadet Edgar Allan Poe: But I would have comforted you. Helped you as you helped me.
Augustus Landor: I don’t think I can be comforted on that particular subject.
Cadet Edgar Allan Poe: [to Landor] So what did I do next? Exactly what you would have done. Examined all assumptions, beginning with what were the chances that two parties would have had designs on the same cadet in the same evening?
Cadet Edgar Allan Poe: What if one party say, Artemus and Lea, what if they were simply on the lookout for a dead body. And then the opportunity magically appears, and they don’t care who the body is, provided it had a heart. The one thing they won’t do for it is kill. No, it is the other party who is ready and willing to kill. And to kill this man in particular. Why? Why? Might it be revenge, Landor?
Cadet Edgar Allan Poe: [to Landor] He must think God himself was on his side. Being engaged to solve the very crimes that he himself committed.
Cadet Edgar Allan Poe: Nor shall I forget how you played the rest of us as fools. Fools. But I was your prize fool. Was I not?
Augustus Landor: No. You were the one who I was to deliver myself to all along. I knew that from the moment I first met you, and here we are.
Augustus Landor: If you want me to say I’m sorry, I will.
Cadet Edgar Allan Poe: I don’t want your apologies. No. I want answers.
Cadet Edgar Allan Poe: What they did was an appalling, savage thing. But you might have gone straight to Thayer, secured a confession.
Augustus Landor: I didn’t want them to confess. I wanted them to die.
Cadet Edgar Allan Poe: And so what now?
Augustus Landor: What now? That depends on you.
Cadet Edgar Allan Poe: I have a pair of notes that will send you to the gallows.
Cadet Edgar Allan Poe: [as Landor hands him back the note] Very well.
Augustus Landor: [after Poe burns the incriminating note] You know, Edgar, I often wish that my Mattie had run into you that night of the ball. Who knows? We might have become a family indeed.
Augustus Landor: [as he releases Mattie’s ribbon at the cliff where she jumped] Rest, my love.