If you're looking for a nice, warm, fuzzy movie to tide you through the winter months, look away — The Pale Blue Eye is not that. The new Netflix movie is a mystery thriller, which investigates a series of killings in 1830s New York (the state, not the city).
While it's a fiction movie, The Pale Blue Eye is inspired by true figures, with famous author Edgar Allan Poe being one of the main characters in the tale.
Adapted from a 2003 book by Louis Bayard, the winter-set thriller has a star-studded cast, with many big and familiar names taking on the roles of investigators, suspects and victims.
To save you from endlessly pausing the movie to ask "wait, where do I know them from?" we'll run you through the key players in the movie, and all the important cast members.
Christian Bale as Augustus Landor
The main character of the movie is Augustus Landor, a grizzled and world-weary detective who gets contracted by the military to investigate the killing of a cadet at the West Point military academy.
We'd be very surprised if you don't immediately recognize Christian Bale, as it's hard to separate the hugely-famous Welsh-born actor from many of the roles he's played.
You may have seen Bale recently in Thor: Love and Thunder and Amsterdam but his filmography includes a huge number of classics and hits, as he played Batman in Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy, and also starring roles in Ford v Ferrari, Vice, The Big Short, The Fighter, 3:10 to Yuma, American Psycho and Terminator Salvation.
Harry Melling as Edgar Allan Poe
To solve the West Point murder, Detective Landor teams up with a student cadet called Edgar Allan Poe, who helps him get to the bottom of what's going on.
Edgar Allan Poe is arguably a bigger name than any of the cast members of The Pale Blue Eye, as the American author is often considered one of the biggest figures in gothic literature. You may well have read some of his short stories, poems or novellas like The Fall of the House of Usher, The Murders in the Rue Morgue, The Cask of Amontillado or The Raven, and his work straddles the line between mystery and horror.
Lots of modern work also features Poe as a character, with The Raven and Twixt depicting him as a mystery investigator in the spirit of an American Sherlock Holmes.
You might not recognize Harry Melling's name, but you'll likely recognize his face if you're a fan of Harry Potter, as he played Harry's cousin Dudley Dursley in five of the movies. He's also in The Queen's Gambit as Harry Beltik, and enjoyed smaller roles in movies The Lost City of Z, The Tragedy of Macbeth, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs and The Old Guard.
Gillian Anderson as Julia Marquis
Gillian Anderson is in The Pale Blue Eye as a member of the Marquis family, which finds itself at the center of Landor and Poe's investigation.
Another huge Hollywood icon, Anderson is perhaps best recognizable for her starring roles as Dana Scully in The X-Files and Jean Milburn in Sex Education, though she's been in plenty more too: The Crown, The Fall, American Gods and Hannibal, to name a few.
Anderson's biggest credits are in TV but she's also been in some big films like The Spy Who Dumped Me, The Last King of Scotland and How to Lose Friends & Alienate People, to name a few.
Toby Jones as Daniel Marquis
The patriarch of the Marquis family and the doctor for West Point, Daniel is present at the murder autopsy and later becomes even more involved with the investigation, as well as Julia and Lea.
A popular British character actor, Jones has been in plenty of popular British movies and shows like Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Dad's Army, Doctor Who, Sherlock, Detectorists, Journey's End and multiple Harry Potter entries, as he voices Dobby the House Elf.
Jones is no stranger to Hollywood audiences though, with roles in The Hunger Games movies, the first two Captain America entries, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom and recently The English.
Lucy Boynton as Lea Marquis
Another member of the illusive Marquis family, Lea is the daughter of Daniel and Julia, so she has a front seat in the murder investigation.
Perhaps best known for her role in Bohemian Rhapsody, Boynton has been in quite a few movies in minor roles like Murder on the Orient Express, Rebel in the Rye and Apostle, as well as TV shows The Politician and The Ipcress File. Her first role was in Miss Potter — no, not Harry Potter, making her one of the few actors in The Pale Blue Eye to not have been in the magical movie franchise.
Robert Duvall as Jean-Pepe
While not immediately linked to the murders, Jean-Pepe is a world traveller who provides the investigation with lots of useful information that helps them find out who's committing the crimes.
Alongside Bale, Robert Duvall is one of the biggest stars of the movie, though at age 92 he doesn't have as big of a role.
Most famous from The Godfather and sequels and Apocalyse Now, Duvall is a Hollywood icon, especially for his roles in many crime and drama thrillers. You may recognize him from True Grit, Tender Mercies, Days of Thunder, Geronimo, Deep Impact and The Apostle.
Despite slowing down in the past few years, Duvall has also been in Widows and Jack Reacher recently.
Timothy Spall as Superintendent Player
Detectives don't work alone, and as his job title implies, Superintendent Player is an official who helps out with the murder investigation, and pushes Landor to work out who's behind it.
Another recognizable British actor, Timothy Spall is known to many for his performance of Peter Pettigrew in several Harry Potter movies and he also played Winston Churchill in The King's Speech, Bayard the Bloodhound in Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland. You have have also seen him in Vanilla Sky, The Last Samurai or the movie adaptation of Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events (in which, coincidentally, he plays a character called Mr Poe).
Simon McBurney as Captain Hitchcock
Captain Hitchcock is another official who needs to help get to the bottom of the murder investigation.
Yet another Harry Potter alumni, McBurney voices house elf Kreacher — apparently The Pale Blue Eye is a reunion for actors from the popular fanasy series.
Apart from that, you may recognize McBurney from the likes of Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Robin Hood (the Russell Crowe one), The Last King of Scotland and The Theory of Everything.
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Tom is the streaming and ecommerce writer at What to Watch, covering streaming services in the US and UK. His goal is to help you navigate the busy and confusing online video market, to help you find the TV, movies and sports that you're looking for without having to spend too much money.
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