Nightmare Alley

Nightmare Alley

An ambitious carnival man with a talent for manipulating people with a few well-chosen words hooks up with a female psychologist who is even more dangerous than he is.

  • Released: 2021-12-02
  • Runtime: 150 minutes
  • Genre: Crime, Drama, Mystery
  • Stars: Bradley Cooper, Cate Blanchett, Toni Collette, Willem Dafoe, Richard Jenkins, Rooney Mara, Ron Perlman, David Strathairn, Holt McCallany, Mark Povinelli, Jim Beaver, Romina Power, Paul Anderson, Tim Blake Nelson, Mary Steenburgen, Clifton Collins Jr., Lara Jean Chorostecki, Drew Nelson, David Hewlett, Troy James, Samantha Rodes, Peter MacNeill, Sarah Mennell, Mike Hill, Caleb Ellsworth-Clark, Dian Bachar, Matthew MacCallum, Linden Porco, Jesse Buck, Stephen McHattie, Bill MacDonald, Natalie Brown, Perry Mucci, Dan Lett, Catherine McGregor, Martin Julien, Tim Post, Will Conlon, Daniel Falk, James Collins, Lili Connor, Danny Waugh, Walter Rinaldi, Andrew Locke, Calvin Desautels, Derrick Moore, Grant Bradley, Dani Klupsch, Vikki Ring, Vanessa Botbyl, Michael Bridgeman, Charles Langille, Paul Taylor, Clyde Whitham, Romina Power
  • Director: Guillermo del Toro
  • jpismyname - 30 December 2022
    Beautiful, engrossing film
    Nightmare Alley is set in the 1940s. Bradley Cooper plays a carnival worker named Stanton Carlisle, who later becomes a fraud mentalist. He then meets some new clients, who then try to expose the truth of his work. The movie is based on a 1946 novel.

    The cast is full of Academy Award nominees and winners, and they are all fantastic, my favorite being Cate Blanchett's enigmatic character. Bradley Cooper did a perfect job as the self-centered and possibly evil magician. The cinematography is stunning and artistic.

    Before I watched this yesterday on Disney Plus, I've barely seen the trailer and I never knew about the novel so I was expecting a horror movie based on the title alone. But I was wrong. It's the tragic tale of a sham magician who gets his karma in the end. The story is a slow burn and has a simple narrative, but it catches my interest until the end of the movie. I really love it, especially the climax when the lies catch up on him. Guillermo del Toro is a gifted storyteller.

    Definitely recommend this movie.
  • HafizhMaulana21 - 27 December 2022
    The wheel of life is always turning
    Stan Carlisle has a knack for manipulating people after he worked for a long time at a traveling carnival. Being a big star in the city makes him forget himself and become ambitious after he meets a psychiatrist woman who wants to take advantage of the power.

    Nightmare Alley gives a big psychic touch. This film presents a crime story with a psychological game in it. Of course, this film has its own nuances and experiences in watching it. Nightmare Alley gives a deep touch to describe human nature. The film tells the story of a carnival man who learns and becomes his talent for manipulating people. However, in the prime of his career he became ambitious and complacent by manipulating the rich to take their money. The premise of the story is carried with a slow tempo. This film wants to invite us to show small details in the character development of the main character. The conflict that is built has a twist-twisting plot, unexpected intrigue and suspenseful scenes. The slow tempo also builds conflict slowly and gradually. The emotional presentation given in this film is also well displayed. This film is a film full of the meaning of life.

    Nightmare Alley is one of the good films with the crime and psychological thriller genre. A perfect and balanced blend with the perfect story premise. Dialogue is dense with meaning and builds atmosphere. The film also has great visuals. Visuals that look dark and noir become perfections in this film to give the impression of the bad side of human nature.
  • runescapeplayergod - 27 December 2022




  • ThurstonHunger - 26 December 2022
    The Circus of Life...
    ...or do I mean circle? Hail Stan, pride rises and guides his flights and falls.

    Stan steals time (and life) from his father and ultimately must surrender that time, well at least symbolically the watch, on his train ride to the pit of wailing, gnashing, and geeking. Some liquor may be rationed out to denizens of that pit and while the focus of the film is not an AA message, booze is not your friend.

    Booze is one threat, but so are dames. I almost wish the focus were Rooney Mara - there's a scene where she talks about her electrifying act, and how she always knew when she had enough.

    That to me was the quiet climax of the movie, never mind the bluster and Stan's descent from the decent.

    Even now that scene pierces my noir blackened heart. Even though I realize it is almost anti-American to wonder when enough is enough. For money, or happiness, or love.

    Anways, Stan keeps reaching for more and more until he winds up with nothing. I've never seen the original film, but I feel like a long maniacal laughter tinged by sorrow is an old school move. The fact that Bradley Cooper could pull it off, is a testament to his acting.

    The fact that Del Toro could pull in so many excellent actors for this is a testament to his art as a film maker. If you appreciate his tender love for the grotesque, you should enjoy this film. Never mind trying to guess who will double-cross who, just drop your quarter in the hand of the ring master and step into the tent.

    Perhaps you will wind up as one of the acts. I know I wish I could dance like the Snake Man.
  • mrmurr9909 - 22 December 2022
    Deconstruct, 1st
    I think movies like this have a tendency to draw misplaced reviews. You have cinematography, actors/actresses, and directors on deck for a "twilight zone-ish" feature.

    Instead what you get (and are gifted with) is a major character study of what most talented individuals do when they have opportunity.

    Some live through that talent and maximize their abilities without harm to others. They enlighten and enhance their counterparts.

    Others use those around them as stepping stones. They see their peers, lovers, and colleagues as pawns to get them to the next step. They only stop if/when they are humbled and meet gravity.

    I think many view this film as disappointing because it didn't capitalize in the fear and scary elements displayed in the marketing. However, it was a beautiful display of the classic phrase "too much is never enough."

    Be fair, folks, and enjoy this film for what it IS not what you hoped it would be.
  • nicko252008 - 21 December 2022
    Great movie in the 40s! MASTERPIECE
    A great movie timepiece set in the 40s. The costumes were fantastic, the sets were amazing, everything looked weathered and worn down. This movie is about Bradley Cooper who commits some kind of crime and then stumbles upon a circus freak Show or traveling Carnival. He ends up sleeping with this woman and starts working for the Traveling Show I'm not sure if he was just a vagabond or run away, but he ends up running with the show moving his way up the ranks.

    EVENTUALLY reading old books about mentalism and learning mentalism. He ends up creating his own show with another girl but there's an underlying theme to the whole movie that God's watching and that you can't get away with doing wrong to people. He deceives people about speaking to the dead. He ends up killing this man with this little ancient book which has some mentalism secrets in it but eventually Bradley Cooper's character meets his match. This woman who's a psychiatrist and she shares information with him so he can have better Acts or Target specific people I think there was this wealthy man, a politician. When they try to recreate his I believe dead wife he gets caught and ends up killing him and they go on the Run. Things spiral out of hand. I really enjoyed this movie it's worth a watch wonderful script you just can't stop watching the movie it's so beautifully shot we get Willem Dafoe in this as well. If you have a chance check it out I highly recommend it it's one of the better movies I've seen of the year 7 stars.
  • Marco_Nocifora - 20 December 2022
    My Scorecard (8.7)
    Will you surrender to the temptations of Enoch or will you fight your evil impulses to not become your own unique beast man?

    This movie is a marvellous, visual masterpiece, starting from the gloomy color palette, continuing with masterful photography, excellent camera angles and ending with on point noir-esque black transitions to close out the different acts. Nothing in this movie felt out of place, neither the beast-man, or the grotesque sceneries inside that carnival.

    Guillermo Del Toro have made another cult movie, with fiabesque undertones, similar to his previous works and every other noir movies, but unique among them all.

    Was it the journey of a bad person or a good guy's one? Did he intend to kill, or was it really an accident? What was the real relationship between him and his father? But most importantly, were some scenes mere allucinations, coming from a mind that was remembering? Or did they contribute to the developing of the character Stanton Carlisle, implying the reasons for his final evolution?

    To this questions we haven't got an answer, but one thing remains certain: he, who walks the paths of evil and goes down the steps of hell, will get captured by his own spiral of deceiving and what he'll find at the end of his journey will be only suffering and despair.



    In a range from 1 to 5, i'll give a value to each entry written below. The final mark will be the weighted sum of each fraction:

    Subject (2.5) = 5/5 Development of the Subject (1.5) = 4/5 Direction/Screenplay (2) = 5/5 Attention (1) = 5/5 Recitation (1.5) = 5/5 Musical Score (0.5) = 5/5

    Final Mark: (2.5 x 5/5) + (1.5 x 4/5) + (2 x 5/5) + (1 x 5/5) + (1.5 x 5/5) + (0.5 x 5/5) = 8.7.

    I gave 9 cos i really liked the film.
  • nategerard77 - 11 December 2022
    This is two movies, unfortunately
    The first movie is engaging, interesting, well written, and genuinely got me invested in the characters and what was going to happen to them.

    We don't know much about the main character but we root for him for some reason. Maybe because he's decent to some of the people from the carnival or because he's down on his luck or maybe because it's Bradley Cooper and we like his leading roles.

    The second film begins a little past half way and I was fully invested in the story by that time, except the writing never made the story pay off for me. Some of the 1 and 2 ratings don't get the film noir nostalgia and the excellent acting throughout. But if there are only six stories any movie ever tells this one told the second half poorly and there are much better versions of this story. It's a pity I'm writing that summation more and more these days.

    There are aspects of this film worth experiencing but don't go looking for something that really has a message or makes you think or has a creative ending.
  • ivantheeditor - 9 December 2022
    Could have been so much more...
    I can't help it. I feel like in my mind I saw a totally different movie than what I actually saw. The images were so beautiful. The acting was so elaborate. Everything kept saying "You're watching a masterpiece now!" But I wasn't. I was watching an incredibly average story. One that was being told very, very, very... very slowly. I think because it was a Del Toro film I was expecting more? Who knows. When the movie was over I even went to youtube to watch a few of those "ending explained" type of videos because I was sure - I was 100% sure - I had missed something. There was no way it was that.... obvious. That easy. That... pointless. You mean to tell me that we witnessed this whole elaborate journey only for the main character to end up like that? No redemption for him... and no redemption for this movie. If I were you - I'd skip it.
  • jmjosmak - 2 December 2022
    How to end misery
    After watching Pan's Labyrinth I knew that de Toro is a filmmaker of dazzling yet authentic imagination. This is on display in Nightmare Alley in many arresting scenes. I won't belabor a rundown: the movie is a visual feast-of rotten food. The acting of course, is brilliant.

    I think the ending is a real problem. Somehow the dramatic doom-knell of Cooper's ending up back in the pit-where he belongs, where his destiny terminates-lacks a clear loud ring. The final scene when he is down there under the hooting, hideous crowd should have been much more explicit, more repulsive, to hammer home that ugly truth.

    Still, it's quite a ride...
  • WeskersWaifu - 25 November 2022
    Do Not Sleep On This Noir Masterpiece
    The only reason I haven't given this movie a 10 out of 10 is because it can be slow in parts, alas a tad bit boring in those moments but if for nothing else any fan of Noir or Thriller movies NEED to watch this film. Cate Blanchett is superb, her role as a psychologist was, in the least to say, breath taking. The whole movie was haunting, thrilling, sad and just beautiful.

    The casting choices were on point, the acting, directing, the script was excellent and it truly was a film that was difficult to turn away from. It is the ending though that you'll forever remember if you watch it and it will make you want to watch it again. I have always loved Noir/Neo-Noir films and this is certainly one of my favourites.
  • partridge_tanya - 17 November 2022
    Beautiful, dark and slightly twisted
    Visually beautiful in everyway, but dark and slightly twisted - exactly what we have come to expect from Guillermo Del Toro.

    The good : absolutely perfect casting (Cate Blanchette is especially captivating), gorgeous set design that transports you to the neo-noir feeling in an instant and the story itself packs a punch with a truly haunting end that will be difficult to forget!

    The bad : the pacing was slightly off and it meant there were long sections of the movie that seemed to drag on.

    Unfortunately I think the pacing issue hindered me from feeling completely immersed in Del Toro's world but the positives still left me feeling like this polished film could one day make its way to being a classic.
  • 851222 - 17 November 2022
    Great movie
    Greetings from Lithuania.

    "Nightmare Alley" (2021) is a reason why i love movies. It has very involving story, amazing set design, terrific director at the top of his game and superb script. Art design in this movie was like a character itself - its on another level. Acting was superb by everyone involved, and there are a lot of familiar faces in this movie.

    Overall, "Nightmare Alley" caught me from its opening scene and did not let go till last frame. It's a long movie, yet at 2 h 30 min. Never was I bored nor disappointed - "Nightmare Alley" is a true cinema. Last scene was amazing. Great movie in every way, highly recommended.
  • tudorel10 - 14 November 2022
    I can't understand the critics
    I saw the movie and i was completely shocked about the masterpiece that i watched , then i came here to write a good review and then i see a lot of people crying that the movie was boring .... Are you crazy ??? This Movie will become a guilermo del torro classic , absolutely amazing movie, people who have respect for cinema will watch till the end and will say that this movie its legendary... the way of filming , the creativity , the acting ... simply amazing. Its been a long time since i came out the cinema with a great mood... and this movie gave it to me, must rewatch it one more time, Bradley Cooper deserves an oscar.