Director Guillermo del Toro, best known for his films The Shape of Water and Pan’s Labyrinth, definitely puts his signature mark on his latest film, Nightmare Alley. The harrowing tale gives del Toro plenty of creepy content to work with.
Many of these carnival attractions are seen in the backdrop or kept in jars for exhibit. In some respects, del Toro chooses to downplay the monstrosities viewers are subjected to at the circus, only to highlight the darker “monsters” of humanity.
Bradley Cooper delivers the most stellar performance of his career as Stanton, a multifaceted character who slowly reveals many layers of his personality as the film progresses. Cooper possesses the perfect mix of charisma and intrigue to make his eccentric character believable.
Cate Blanchett as Lilith, exudes sexuality and elegance while at the same time revealing a vulnerability behind her powerful presence. Her and Cooper have amazing chemistry on screen, almost an animalistic attraction, which aids in the excitement of their cat and mouse game throughout the film.
It’s almost as if the movie itself used the source material as a guide in an attempt to secure the audience to an understood premise at the beginning, only to lull them out of their sensibilities, and just when you thought it was taking a downward turn, it hits you with the prestige.