Ian’s review published on Letterboxd:
”Sometimes you don't see the line until you cross it.”
As much as I’ve been a fan of Del Toro’s work, this was one of the first times I really wasn’t captivated like I normally am. The sense of gothic nature that inhabits each and every one of his films is easily the most brilliant aspect of his career. However, when it comes to Nightmare Alley I found myself in a sort of trance of boredom at times. I don’t think this is necessary the entire reason for my rather mediocre feelings to the film as a whole, I just think Del Toro took the wrong approach for my liking.
Whereas I can see the appeal of a noir-ish film in todays world, I think there’s just that extra push that doesn’t happen. Every noir or neo-noir film that I’ve seen (which granted isn’t too many), I found there’s always that extra step taken that really grabs your attention and makes it special and I found here it felt like a real going through the motions film. There seems to be a continuous trend of watching Bradley Cooper go through the ups and downs or a carnival man and I just found no outside attachment or interest in anything that happened. I wanted to see what was happening and even though the ending is probably one of the creepiest and disturbing things I’ve ever seen, it can’t save Nightmare Alley from being a totally fine film in general.