Nightmare Alley Movie Review & Comments

Mark Costello

Distinguished Member

lucasisking

Distinguished Member
Blanchett and Mara were great once again, but this wasn’t the sequel to Carol that I was expecting.

Seriously though, quite enjoyed this. Took a big chunk of its mammoth running time to get its hooks in me, but once I was locked in I found it a compelling experience. Not seen the 1947 adaptation and unlikely to soon, so no issues comparing them. Enjoyed Cooper, Jenkins and as mentioned Cate devours all her scenes. Obviously it all looks gorgeous.

Good review Mark and I’d go along with your 7/10 score.
 

Jessica Noir

Well-known Member
Very fair review. While I enjoyed it and very much looking forward to seeing the black and white version del Toro has cooked up on its home release, there was just way too much plot and a decent chunk of it could be streamlined into flashbacks or even during Carlisle’s therapy sessions. Blanchett stole the show though, what a screen goddess.
 

barnaby jones

Distinguished Member
Struggling to remember the last GDT film I enjoyed, might even have Pans all those years ago.
Hoping this one bucks the trend when I see it tomorrow
 

Jessica Noir

Well-known Member
Struggling to remember the last GDT film I enjoyed, might even have Pans all those years ago.
Hoping this one bucks the trend when I see it tomorrow
Really? Personally I think he’s one of the safest bets in modern cinema. Still think The Devil’s Backbone is his masterpiece.
 

jdevil

Distinguished Member
I do like GDT films as they feel different to a lot of the mainstream releases, apart from Hellboy and Pacifim rim, his got a solid bunch of films.
 

lucasisking

Distinguished Member
I've somehow missed Devil's Backbone but will keep an eye out for it.

Pans Lab is his masterpiece for me so far, but I did enjoy his Blade sequel. Nightmare Alley was definitely a return to form after his last few movies which were ok but also disappointing in various ways.

I see he's also repeated his fondness for smashing noses into skulls.
 

Jessica Noir

Well-known Member
I see he's also repeated his fondness for smashing noses into skulls.
Other trademarks making a welcome return are a 'Jesus Saves' neon crucifix, Ron Perlman and jars of formaldehyde containing foetuses! Nearly had a full house on my Del Toro bingo card.
 

Tim2049

Well-known Member
Del Toro's work, barring The Devil's Backbone and Pan's Labyrinth, reminds me of latter day Tim Burton. Ambitious, often very impressive production design, but lacking in almost all other areas.
 

SteveAWOL

Distinguished Member
Very fair review. While I enjoyed it and very much looking forward to seeing the black and white version del Toro has cooked up on its home release, there was just way too much plot and a decent chunk of it could be streamlined into flashbacks or even during Carlisle’s therapy sessions. Blanchett stole the show though, what a screen goddess.

Yup, I found that the middle section of this really dragged with Mara’s character being little more than another cipher but thankfully Blanchett made the final act engrossing; just as Dafoe, Collette, Strathairn had the first part.

Overall I probably enjoyed GDT’s latest about as much as The Shape Of Water but certainly not up to the levels of The Devil’s Backbone or Pan’s Labyrinth.
 

ozzzy189

Distinguished Member
Struggling to remember the last GDT film I enjoyed, might even have Pans all those years ago.
Hoping this one bucks the trend when I see it tomorrow
shape of water?
 

richp007

Distinguished Member
Cheers Mark. I do fancy this, but it's one I'll catch at home when it appears on one of the streamers.

I've always liked GDT's offerings; I must rewatch The Devil's Backbone soon, it's been a very long time.
 

SteveAWOL

Distinguished Member
Did you find the transition to New York jarring ?

Not jarring so much as boring tbh with the thoroughly forgettable score (as mentioned by Mark in his review) just adding to my mid-movie ennui, until Blanchett took centre stage.

Those 40 or so minutes don’t really flesh out the characters (as Mark said) and I cannot recall much which was significant to the main story arc occurring, so whilst the cinematography was nice it all just felt rather indulgent; although guess I should be grateful that GDT trimmed 60 minutes from the assembly cut.

 

Hampy1972

Distinguished Member
It was ok, not Del Toro best work, far from it.

You sort of knew that type of ending was coming from afar.

Thought Defoe was brilliant, always is!

Could have done with a bit more pace..................... next up House of Gucci!

6/10!
 

nufcfan1

Active Member
I was disappointed in "shape of water", and never really understood the acclaim it received at the time although admittedly it looked great. Nightmare alley was definitely a slow burner, but a better movie than SOW, as it had fundamentally a more interesting plot. The movie was dark in tone with horror elements sprinkled through out, and most of the characters held my interest as the story progressed. As mentioned it sagged a bit in the middle, and the ending was fairly predictable, but the performances in general (Blanchett/Dafoe standout) were superb, and the film just looked amazing on screen although the score was forgettable, and added little. Recommend as it is somewhat of a return to form for Del Toro. 6.5/10
 

Garrett

Moderator
I was disappointed in "shape of water", and never really understood the acclaim it received at the time although admittedly it looked great.
So did I and Michael Shannon from what I remember played it like a pantomime villain and was a shadow of his Zod.
 

PlexShaw

Well-known Member
The Black and White version (subtitled "Vision in Darkness and Light") is out today in UK cinemas, so I'm going to re-watch it over the weekend.
 

QuestShield

Distinguished Member
I'm a big GDT fan for his dreamlike visuals and in that regard Nightmare Alley doesn't disappoint. However the opening carnival scenes went on too long and considering Bradley Cooper is in almost every scene I just didn't find his character all that compelling, considering he acted his socks off. Perhaps original lead choice DiCaprio might have brought a little more charisma to the proceedings and might have had more chemistry with Mara and Blanchett.
That being said it's nice to see a neo-noir in 2022 that looks as good as this does, with one of my favourite actors (Willem Dafoe). Why are so many recent films hitting the 150 minute mark though.. the art of editing gone out the window? I must check out the 110 minute Tyrone Power version. I actually preferred Crimson Peak and on this watch Nightmare Alley gets 7/10 from me, 5/10 from my wife.
 

prism10

Active Member
I do wonder if DiCaprio would had bought a vulnerability that Cooper did not have. I found him just too hard bitten.
 

gimpli

Well-known Member
Did think Cooper would make a good Indiana Jones with the way he looked at the start, Film was ok, Del Toro’s always fantastic visually, out of his most recent films, I think Crimson Peak is his best.
 

Captainoats

Active Member
Cooper is brilliant as always and Defoe was exceptional as per normal. Overall for me it was quite slow and dragged in the middle. Although ending was a good way to finish it was obvious how it was heading in that direction.
I wouldn't say it's GDT at his best - still feel Pan's Labyrinth is his best.
 

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