Nightmare Alley

Nightmare Alley ★★★

2021 Ranked

Still have to see his first three features, but at this point, I’m fully convinced I’m not going to connect with another Guillermo del Toro film as much as I do with THE SHAPE OF WATER.

I think the biggest issue here is that I never really felt any of the atmospheric grit that should come with a neo-noir like this. Even with Crimson Peak, I felt those gothic vibes. This is too clean and prestige in comparison, and that is especially evident in Dan Laustsen’s photography; it looks too glossy. Never bought into the romance between Stan and Molly either.

That said, the ensemble is solid across the board, the production design is inspired, and it’s decently paced for a 2.5 hour film. Overall, an admirable yet ultimately adequate effort. Highly unfortunate this flopped at the box office though, because for all of my grievances with it, this is at least an actual directorial vision made with ambition and passion.

Willem Dafoe MVP. Insanely good performance.

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