Nightmare Alley – 1 star
A pointless and excruciatingly long (2.5 hours) noir. All of the characters are thinly drawn and given second banana positioning to impossibly stylized visuals. Before you can say “del Toro”, you’ll realize you’re in for a weak facsimile of Body Heat, minus the body and the heat, where the sex is supplanted by impeccable pre-World War II interior design. If you love art deco hallways and hotel rooms, this movie is for you!
The caper, such as it is, is laughably transparent and slapdash, having virtually no chance of success, and if you don’t have the end sussed out, you were probably justifiably looking at your phone. Cate Blanchett practically purrs with insincerity and threat, so the fact that she has any chance of getting over on grifter Bradley Cooper relegates him to super dummy status. As the love interest, Rooney Mara is dull. As the corporate titan meanie, Richard Jenkins is wasted.
I suppose it’s okay to look at, though I found the film visually just shy of the vulgar and lurid Sin City movies.
Free on HBO, which should have but did not help.