Monday, 24 January 2022

Nightmare Alley

 
Bradley Cooper

Guillermo del Toro’s 2006 movie Pan’s Labyrinth is one of my all time favourite movies to date and since then he has only made six films, with only one The Shape Of Water being anything of note for me. 
I was therefore very interested in seeing his latest movie, the neo-noir psychological, remake Nightmare Alley.
Set initially in a depressed and seedy Midwest freak show, we meet psychologically damaged Stan ( Bradley Cooper) a natural grifter with a knack of reading people. He is taken in by the unscrupulous show owner Clem ( a wonderfully seedy Willem Defoe) and teams up with the moral but alcoholic Pete ( David Strathairn ) his wife Madam Zeema ( Toni Collette) and showgirl Molly (Rooney Mara) 
Learning the ways of duping the public, Stan and Molly start a successful clairvoyant show in the city, here Stan meets the mysterious Dr Ritter ( Cate Blanchet) a psychologist with whom he teams up with in order to con a famous businessman but their relationship is complex with both playing psychological games with each other and things eventually dissolve into tragedy. 


Rooney Mara

Del Toro grabs the new-noir mantle very early on in this movie and produces a nightmarish, slightly unreal world of a run down carnival heavy with poverty, ruthlessness and regret from the get go.
It’s a wonderfully shot and cleverly observed piece cinema.
Cooper is charismatic and incredibly believable as the damaged Stan who through childhood abuse had learned to manipulate and film flam people, Colette and Defoe are standouts from the carnival scenes with Blanchet matching Cooper quite nicely as the the two circle each other psychologically , like two predators looking forward a weakness.
It’s a tense, bleak, violent and beautiful looking film
Which  leaves the audience unsettled and on edge by the time the last reel rolls.

Toni Colette


19 comments:

  1. Whenever you give a film review, I think you could give Mark Kermode a run for his money. I bet he earns more in one day than you do in a month! Wonder if you could get a foot in the door? xx

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    1. It’s not hard to write a review k I’m pretentious enough to believe I’m good at it lol

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    2. You're wrong there, John. It's not easy. It's like all things done by an expert, it just looks easy! You are good at it. You have a way with words. xx

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  2. I knew a boxer who said he had been reading a book about psychology-and unfortunately I'm aware of how someone with a twisted mind will sneak in trying to find anothers concern for their own sick purpose x

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    1. A case of one person’s teeth fitting anothers’ wounds

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  3. I can hardly wait to see this one! I love Del Toro's genre work and he's the perfect director to take on Neo-Noir! A couple of weeks ago I saw the original "Nightmare Alley" with Tyrone Power on TCM and it was excellent. But I bet Del Toro will top it, no problem. What a stellar cast too!

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    1. You are more an expert than me ….del toro is my god…pans labyrinth was a classic

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  4. Barbara Anne7:04 pm

    Sounds eerie and interesting!

    Hugs!

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    1. Barbara Anne12:34 am

      Since it's unsettling, I doubt I'll watch it as I don't enjoy Stephen King type movies. Clint Eastwood's "Play Misty for Me" is way past my creepy meter although I did sit through it at a friends home surrounded by my Emergency Department co-workers. Methinks life is too short to be creeped out intentionally. More power to you and other hearty and brave souls!

      Hugs!

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  5. i hadn't head about this but it has all of my favorite actors so i must see it.

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    1. A strong cast for sure Cooper is very good

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  6. Lucky you, it only played for a week here. & I agree on Pan's Labyrinth

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  7. That's an amazing film review. Well done. So well done, I know I will not see this film. The portrayal of deep psychological problems along with one person duping another would be more than I care to observe.

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  8. The Devil’s Backbone is another classic from del Torro. I was very excited when he was working on Crimson Peak but it was TERRIBLE, just an awful waste of money. I hope he learned his lesson that pouring money on something doesn’t make it better.

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  9. The Devil’s Backbone is another classic from del Torro. I was very excited when he was working on Crimson Peak but it was TERRIBLE, just an awful waste of money. I hope he learned his lesson that pouring money on something doesn’t make it better.

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  10. Sounds interesting and different. I will look out for it when it comes round.

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