THEATRICAL REVIEW: Nightmare Alley an exquisite exercise in noir & macabre

From the masterful mind of director Guillermo del Toro comes this awe-inspiring, beautiful remake of the classic 1947 film.

A tale of intrigue and wondrous, terrifying delight, it follows a carny who manipulatives those he comes across for power and wealth. But when he meets a psychiatrist whose womanly wiles and penchant for chaos matches his, the two become enveloped in a dangerous game.

Del Toro (an Oscar winner for The Shape Of Water) creates arguably his most commercial effort with this gothic, noir film of freakish magic. It’s a slow-burn film where everything is deliberate, and the whole exquisite affair ties together.

The cast, point blank, represents the best ensemble I’ve seen this entire year, no contest. Bradley Cooper anchors the film in his best performance ever. I didn’t think he would ever surpass his work in A Star Is Born, but as the final frame extinguishes on-screen, I was left awestruck.

He is absolutely entrancing as a hustler falling into an abyss of avarice, and he’s matched by a beguiling, captivating Cate Blanchett. She’s got an air of power here I haven’t seen in a long time.

With supporting turns from Rooney Mara, Toni Collette, Ron Perlman, Mary Steenburgen, Clifton Collins Jr., Tim Blake Nelson and Holt McCallany, it’s an entirely stacked affair.

But it’s Willem Dafoe, a small role from Richard Jenkins, and David Strathairn — in his best turn since Good Night, and Good Luck — who steal the show also.

It’s a spellbinding, hypnotic film that you won’t be able to get off your mind.

4.5/5 Stars

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