May 5, 2022

Nightmare Alley (2021)

Nightmare Alley is a 2021 American neo-noir psychological thriller film directed by Guillermo del Toro from a screenplay by del Toro and Kim Morgan, based on the 1946 novel of the same name by William Lindsay Gresham, being the second feature film adaptation of Gresham's novel, following the 1947 version. The film received positive reviews from critics but flopped at the box office, grossing a total of $39 million worldwide against a $60 million production budget. It received four nominations at the 94th Academy Awards, including Best Picture.

A grifter working his way up from low-ranking carnival worker to lauded psychic medium matches wits with a psychiatrist bent on exposing him.
Freddy and Krasnaya Movie Review

K: Before starting my review, I found out that Nightmare Alley is the second film adaptation of the novel of the same name by William Linzey Gresham. First Nightmare Alley is a 1947 American film noir directed by Edmund Goulding. I am willing to check it out later. Guillermo Del Toro knows how to create pressure. He is a master at creating an atmosphere. Every scene is accurately calibrated, with spectacular work with light, throwing a noir shadow on Nightmare Alley, with clearly drawn lines and catchy, colourful elements like that of the Enoch creature that killed his mother, or the red lipstick of Lilith Ritter (Cate Blanchett). It was an aesthetic pleasure for me for two and a half hours.

F: Hiya Krasnaya! I didn't know that. We're definitely going to check out that older version here at Cine It in the future, since I've loved this movie so much. Finally, something really entertaining. I agree with you. I was mesmerized by the neo-noir atmosphere; it's just beautifully detailed. This movie can start a little slow, but oh boy, like a good book, once you get hooked, there's no stopping. I'm a big fan of Guillermo Del Toro and we need to dedicate a themed week to him here. I have to admit that I wouldn't be able to tell if this was a Guillhermo Del Toro movie, if I had to guess.

Enoch - The killer baby
Reminds me of that time when me and Krasnaya visited Kunstkamera.
K: Yes, the story grabs your attention and the film, like a river, flows and flows from small to full-flowing rapids. And the topic, in general, is quite intriguing. Behind the scenes of fakirs and magicians. The cast is extraordinary! Bradley Cooper, Cate Blanchett, Willem Dafoe, Toni Collette, etc. All of them did a good job, although sometimes I caught myself thinking that Bradley Cooper was a bit woody and lacking in emotions, especially at the beginning of the film. Cate Blanchett was exceptional! She is always mysterious, beautiful, and dangerous at the same time.

F: I thought that the cast was genius. I liked every single character in this movie. I think Bradley Cooper shined in that last scene. I'm starting to like this guy a lot, even if it's hard to forgive him for that goddamn movie with Lady Gaga. Yuck! Cleaning up the last phrase for good, we have: Cate Blanchett and her art deco consulting office. GLORIOUS! I was also quite excited by the many subjects in the movie; spiritualism and charlatanism, power and psychology. What makes you feel more powerful? Reading people and being able to manipulate them, or being stinking rich?

Femme Fatale Cate Blanchett
Femme fatale
K: The morality of the film is clear as day. So the ending turned out to be correct in terms of dramaturgy. I actually knew that Stan was going to be the next geek - a human or a beast, when he jumped on the wagon full of chickens. The only thing I wasn't able to answer was why the main character was driven by a thirst for power and profit so much? Do you know the answer Freddy?

F: Free will, I guess. He just chose that path. Pete (David Strathairn) warns him about pursuing the power inside that little black book. Zeena (Toni Collette) also warned him with the readings from her Tarot cards. He didn't listen, got blinded by power and greed, and ended up flying too close to the sun. I also think he ended up not having faith in anything; this was aggravated by his career choice perhaps. He didn't care if he did something wrong, and you can see this in many different scenes to different degrees. By the way, I love how the story still leaves us a door open to the world of mysticism with that Tarot reading. There's a lot we don't know about Stan also. Why did he hate his father so much? We get a hint that he was probably abused by the man with whom his mother cheated. Did he blame that on his father? We really need to watch that 40's version to get some details off! Also, I didn't quite get what the connection was with that little jar baby, Enoch. Is it just the parricide issue or is there something more?

Bradley Cooper Insane laugh
F: This is our third movie for this week's theme and we both highly recommend it. Go watch it and have fun!

Freddy's Score: 90/100
Krasnaya's Score: 80/100





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