AL- BAWABA- For those of you who are unfamiliar with the writer and poet Edgar Allen Poe, he is an American writer and poet of the 19th century, he is wildly considered the father of murder mystery and a pioneer in the macabre, his stories always had a grim, eerie and grotesque vibe to it.
What does Edgar Allen Poe have to do with the pale blue eye? our protagonist detective Agustus Landor (Christian Bale) teams up with an unusual cadet from the west point military academy to help him solve a series of grisly murders, seemingly done by Satanists or members of the occult. That cadet is none other than our Edgar Allen Poe.
Louis Bayard the writer of the novel on which the movie was based, used some facts from the life of Poe and incorporated them into the novel creating a fictional origin story for Edgar Allen Poe. Although some of the story’s details are based on truth there are no records of Poe solving murders in West Point military academy and detective Landor is a fictional character.
The movie instantly transports us to the eerie woods of West Point New York, the movie's setting visualizes the macabre themes of the story, the grim atmosphere keeps the audience on edge and enhances the suspense, you can never know where the danger is coming from. The cinematography and mood of the movie give us a feeling that everyone is a suspect.
In the midst of all this detective Landor is acquainted with a young Edgar Allen Poe (Harry Melling) a witty and well-articulated poet, detective Landor takes interest quickly in the young poet and enlists him to help with the investigation. Director Scott Cooper intended for their relationship to grow into a father-son kind of relationship. We witness the transition when we learn that Landor is a sad widower and his daughter ran from home and Poe communicates with his dead mother symbolizing the need for a parental figure.
The movie's narrative progresses as any other murder mystery with puzzles to solve clues to find. The grim vibe of the movie is elevated with cooper lingering over the pasty corpses and coagulated wounds and crackling of stiffened fingers.
The grotesque nature of disfigured human and animal corpses challenges the movie to have a fitting end and not a run of a generic ending, which the movie certainly delivers.
The ending is definitely a surprise, the audience knows the end by intuition and the ingenuity of the director, and the boldness of the script yet we are still surprised when it is unraveled.
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