Nightmare Alley is a remake of the 1947 film of the same name that starred Tyrone Power. Directed by Guillemo Del Toro (The Shape of Water, Crimson Peak) it tells a 140 minute story of a down-on-his-luck manipulative man Stan Carlisle (Bradley Cooper) walking away from a burning house running from his past bad luck adventures. He joins a carnival following a lengthy bus jaunt, utters not a word until several minutes into this wicked tale, meets up with a female shrink (Cate Blanchett) who’s disgust matches his own, stays with the funhouse and now falls to an all time low as a carny geek. Searchlight Pictures has a winner thanks to the amazing cast, directing and musical score.
Adapted from the 1946 novel by William Lindsay Gresham, Stan goes to great lengths to fit in with society with failure not being an issue in this tortured romantic Guillemo being so well known for. The film retains a mixture of the best with con men headed by Willem Dafoe and his evil smurk that sells his part, to Sunday Preachers, an electric chair as part of the attractions with Molly (Rooney Mara) showing how it works. The A+ cast, also features Ron Perlman, Richard Jenkins, Toni Collette, Mary Steenburgen and David Strathairn.
Although the movie is laced with clairvoyancy it steers away from multiple blood and gore which I was expecting more of. Once we get to the second half of the story It picks up speed and Cooper steps out in the end. This slow-burn comes to a satisfying full circle but not without some tragedy. A long movie with a lot of characters to get through with Blanchett prevailing powerfully. It opens in theaters 12/17/2021 and is rated R for violence, language and smoking. This film will have to fight Spider-Man for top spot this weekend. 4 stars (out of 5)