Nightmare Alley

Nightmare Alley ★★★★

Guillermo Del Toros first ever “normal” movie is still somehow unmistakably something to come from his dark psyche and his beautiful heart and soul. This may be the outright meanest thing he’s ever made but it’s incredibly gripping. This movie takes no prisoners, and yet ironically it’s the only Del Toro joint Ron Perlman where gets away clean.

Del Toros visuals, and clockwork mechanic style film making evoke a rich atmosphere, for an adult drama with no demons, ghosts, or katana wielding Wesley Snipes it’s still shot exactly like one of his horror movies and it’s all the more richly textured for it. It’s still a horror movie in a sense I suppose.

This is the most stacked cast to appear in one of his films and everyone delivers. Bradley Cooper plays up on that aura he has to me that creates an instinctual distrust of him. Date (EDIT: Cate) Blanchette is as classical seductive femme fatale as it gets, while also using her stone cold resting bitch face to its best extreme. Willem Dafoe makes his Del Toro film debut and it feels like they’ve been at it together as long as Ron Perlman has. Dafoe is a perfect sleazy carnie and honestly probably the MVP for me.

It’s a fascinating genre detour for Del Toro. One I’m fascinated to watch again as soon as possible. Perhaps after checking out the 1947 original. What also reaaaaaallly tickles me is seeing Del Toro making himself comfortable in an appropriate period setting for At the Mountains of Madness.

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