Nightmare Alley

audience Reviews

, 68% Audience Score
  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    I went into this one blind. Given the characters' dress in the poster and the title, I thought this was a gangster movie… I was not pleased upon quickly learning it revolved around a carnival setting — more bluntly, it was about a "freak show". However, my concerns were assuaged after a few scenes with the excellent cast. Bradley Cooper, Willem Dafoe, Toni Colette, Rooney Mara, David Strathairn (an underrated actor), and Ron Perlman are all introduced early on. And while I dislike "freak shows," I'm attracted to stories about hucksters, swindlers, snake oil salesmen, as they're deeply embedded in my American DNA, and that's what we have here. This is one of those stories where there are very few, if any, "good guys". The name of the game is exploitation and it grows and compounds with every scene. It's a new movie and available on HBOMax, so I'll refrain from spoilers. The settings are lush with Art Deco fabulousness — I really appreciated the Buffalo setting, an imposing city for the time period that is rarely shown on-screen. It's long, at 2 ½ hours, but I think the length is necessary. In fact, Dr. Lilith Ritter (Cate Blanchett) is a character that could've been more developed given her ultimate role in Stan's (Cooper) arc. The ending, which I did actually call, is dark as shit. That final shot pushed this from an (88)-(89) to a (90) for me. Bravo. Guillermo del Toro's film is now tied with Don't Look Up as the best movie of 2021.
  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    Hands down the best film of 2021.
  • Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
    Creepy in a good way, merging psychological trauma with re-defining who IS the bad guy? Was it long? Yes, but to learn about each character. Now I want to see the 1947 version!
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    It's a real drama for the most part with a thrilling latter quarter. Definitely worth a watch if you don't mind the slow pacing.
  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    It takes it's time building up to the amazing finale, and that might be a problem for people with short attention spans who don't get immersed in films unless there is constant action and explosions on the screen. And it is a cautionary tale so some might find it "depressing" because the main character is taken down a dark path in order to teach the audience a lesson about what NOT to do. This is a film about the evils of scamming and lying to people and what happens when you get too arrogant with your ability to fool. "It's not hope if it's a lie, Stan" is such a great quote among many that can be found in this gem. It is a really good movie.
  • Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    It's almost like Woody Allen is a co-director, giving hints about music and cast and story and more. And what at cast! Cooper and Colette great. The achingly beautiful art decor sets push into noir oddness. Beautiful start to finish. But a mid-point switch in tone feels like an important scene is on the cutting room floor. A final big con isn't the final BIG scene, and oh how it works is mesmerizing; del Toro borrows a final shot from Allen's masterpiece 'The Purple Rose of Cairo' and slams it all out of the ballpark. Almost perfect.
  • Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
    It looks lovely with del Toro's usual flair for sumptuous visuals, cinematography and production design, but despite many engaging parts, ‘Nightmare Alley' isn't as entirely as gripping as I'd hoped, in large part because it's too long and often feels like it's not getting very far at a sensible pace. That being said, the core story is fantastic and the committed performances from a great cast often manage to sell it despite shortcomings. A particularly strong third act and finale really ends things on a high note.
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    Fairly long., but wonderful atmosphere and acting. I enjoyed the entire movie all the way to the end. If you can devote 2 and a half hours, watch this movie.
  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    Personally, I thought it was riveting all the way through. One of, if not the best movie I've seen in the past few years. Truly an incredible storyline and some awesome themes to explore. I feel like its a movie that will reveal new things every rewatch.
  • Rating: 0.5 out of 5 stars
    What a waste, movie is overrated and all over the place no storyline to follow, shouldn't deserve two hours screentime