Director: Guillermo del Toro
Writer/s: Guillermo del Toro, Kim Morgan, William Lindsay Gresham
Starring: Bradley Cooper, Cate Blanchett, Toni Collette, Rooney Mara, and more.
Come one, come all to the circus show that is “Nightmare Alley!” While I mean that quite literally in some cases, I also mean that in a much more metaphorical way too, and one would only know once they’ve seen this wild piece of a flick. From the mind of Guillermo del Toro and adapted from the novel by William Lindsay Gresham. This dramatic thriller sure has the makings to not disappoint!
“An ambitious carny with a talent for manipulating people with a few well-chosen words hooks up with a female psychiatrist who is even more dangerous than he is.”
I was intrigued by “Nightmare Alley” for quite a long time, but to my surprise, I missed out on most of the theatrical run. While it began to make a comeback with its black and white edition, it also simultaneously dropped on HBOMax and Hulu. So I decided to take advantage by watching this beautifully dark film just as Guillermo del Toro intended — On my phone.
While the cinematic experience may have been limited being viewed on my cell phone, I must admit, “Nightmare Alley” did not disappoint in the least bit. I was fully enthralled by the film in any which way when it comes down to it. The film carries incredible performances by just about all involved. Another example of a film that has “no small parts”. Everyone with a screen time of possibly 3 minutes to practically every minute makes sure their presence is felt. That is especially the case with our lead man, Bradley Cooper, who I have always thought typically plays the always alluring and charming character, but something was different about Stanton Carlisle. The desire to know the mysterious man behind the blue eyes was higher than ever.
This part could go on like a novel if I wanted to talk about every actor and their performance so I chose to keep brief. Miss Cate Blanchett: I have a dangerous attraction to Cate. Aside from her killer looks, she always pairs that with devastating intelligence with her roles and that is especially the case here. Her character of Dr. Lillith Ritter gives Stanton a run for his money as they play chess with every passing moment. Toni Collette: Remember my dangerous attraction to Cate? Yeah, double down with Toni. Toni is as mystical and magnetic as ever with her character of Zeena the Seer. While she has limited time on screen, she surely makes the most of it. On the same front of having limited time, we have Mr. Willem Dafoe. Homerun after homerun for Dafoe. The man takes no breaks and has consistently been putting out impressive performances at least twice a year since practically 2016. His character, Clem Hoatley, runs the circus show and his charismatic self never falters. Next, I’ll wrap it up with what I would call the co-star of the film, miss Rooney Mara. Rooney’s “Molly Cahill” is a devastating story by the end of the film. Of all the characters, Rooney made a lasting impression on me.
Along with a Guillermo del Toro film comes a masterful presentation of story telling. For me to say this is a master class example of del Toro storytelling would be like me saying water is wet, but nonetheless. “Nightmare Alley” had me hooked from start to finish and it is much to the hand of its story being simply exceptional and flowing perfectly. I ate up every moment with the large array of different actors putting in their best effort and I loved it.
As opposed to my reception of del Toro’s films like “Pan’s Labyrinth,” and “Shape of Water.” “Nightmare Alley” works overwhelmingly well for me. With a magnificent delivery of this crime thriller-like story as well as superb performances from all involved. This film became an instant favorite of mine among the 2021 released films and overall films in general. One I won’t soon forget, and one I may be watching again soon just to take more of it in.
Rating: 4.5/5 🎬
Editor: Abby McNatt
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