• A lost man discovers a gift for mentalism in 1940s America.

  • Bradley Cooper slips into the skin of this ambiguous character, in turn seduced by Toni Colette, Rooney Mara and Cate Blanchett.

  • After "The Shape of Water", Guillermo Del Toro signs a tribute to film noir in the dark "Nightmare Alley".

Never had Bradley Cooper been so impressive as in

Guillermo Del Toro's

Nightmare Alley

. He becomes Stanton Carlisle, a man with a troubled past and questionable morals who will impose himself as a mentalist first in a fair then in New York in the 1940s. Three women camped by Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara and Toni Collette follow his rise and fall.

“I wanted Bradley Cooper to give free rein to the disturbing side that I had glimpsed in him for

Limitless 

and

A Star is Born

, confides Guillermo Del Toro to

20 Minutes

.

I wanted people to understand that Stanton Carlisle is capable of destroying people but that he has enough charisma that we accept that we can be bamboozled by him.

The actor gave himself a dark Gary Cooper look to hide his character's dark designs.

Two Americas back to back

The Charlatan

, a novel by William Lindsay Gresham, published in 1946, had already been brought to the screen by Edmund Goulding the following year. The version written by Guillermo Del Toro, winner of the Oscars received for

The Shape of Water

in 2018, and his wife Kim Morgan, oscillates between classicism and modernity. “It's a cinema banquet, insists the director. This story echoes the present day with its conspiracy, lies and paranoia. » Stanford Carlisle imposes itself first on the fair between « phenomena », circus artists and showmen (Willem Dafoe, Richard Jenkins and Ron Perlman are all wonderful).

He then tries to break into town where a psychiatrist, Cate Blanchett as an icy femme fatale, will take him at his own game. “I put two Americas back to back, insists Guillermo Del Toro. That of the fair where people deceive the public in an almost honest way, and that of the city where the elites give themselves a respectable gender while they are deeply corrupt. Guillermo Del Toro's love for different beings surfaces throughout this homage to film noir with sumptuous images.

“Stanford Carlisle is like a drug dealer who shoots himself with his cargo, explains Guillermo Del Toro.

When he starts believing his own lies, he's cooked, but aren't we all more or less capable of being convinced by what we make up?

The final scene of the film, terrifying, proves that differentiating between reality and his inventions can be a rich idea.

We leave the room with the shivers that a passage in a 

deliciously dark

Nightmare Alley provokes.

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