The fact that Guillermo del Toro is a talented director, producer and screenwriter is not a doubt. He has won accolades (and many awards) with his films such as “Pan’s Labyrinth” and “The Shape of Water” and popularity with others such as “Crimson’s Peak”, “Pacific Rim”, and “Hellboy.” However, the issue is I have never liked any of his films. I did like his production of the horror television series, “The Strain”, having read the books and being a huge fan of them. But I can say I definitely enjoyed his latest film, “Nightmare Alley”, and can see why it is also getting award recognition. It is a film with a great cast and outstanding performances and a powerful ending.
The film opens with Bradley Cooper’s character (Stan Carlisle), moving what is obviously a body, burying it in the floor of a house and setting it on fire. He is then seen going off in the distance until he comes across a carnival where he finds work as a carny and picks up tricks that allow him to ‘read’ people and gains popularity as a medium. Cooper does a fantastic job in his role.
The cast also includes Cate Blanchett, Toni Collette, Willem Dafoe, Richard Jenkins, Rooney Mara, Ron Perlman, Mary Steenburgen, and David Strathairn, all of whom give great performances, especially Blanchett, Collette and Dafoe.
The movie has a definite ‘old style’ feel to it and reminds you of a 40’s classic set in modern times. The settings, lighting and cinematography are fantastic and should definitely be considered come awards time.
While not a fast paced film, it is worth it when you get to the ending which knocks you out. Definitely worth a see!