Hammerman Ikon

Hammerman Ikon Film Guide

Nightmare Alley
Director: Guillermo del Toro
Cast: Bradley Cooper, Cate Blanchett, Toni Collette, Willem Dafoe, Richard Jenkins, Rooney Mara, Ron Perlman, Mary Steenburgen, David Strathairn

In the late 1930s, a mysterious drifter joins a carnival, where he learns the tricks of mentalism. His new set of skills make him successful, but also arrogant and foolhardy. Guillermo del Toro's intriguing neo-noir drama brings the world of a traveling carnival to life in glorious detail. Everything is beautifully staged, framed, and shot, as you can expect. The drifter's slow-paced rise and fall has wonderful symmetry, but also frustrating inevitability. Bradley Cooper gives a commanding performance in the lead, but Cate Blanchett is disappointingly mannered as the femme fatale, whose true motivation never becomes clear. Based on William Lindsay Gresham's novel, which was previously filmed in 1947.