Guillermo del Toro calls ‘Nightmare Alley’ perfect for the world today

Artists usually believe their work makes an impact and director Guillermo del Toro is no different. The director, who previously won the “Best Director” Oscar for his work on The Shape of Water, shared his view on his most recent film as part of a Deadline Hollywood article series today talking to Oscar nominees ahead of this year’s awards show.

“I thought there were so many possibilities in the book to talk about truth, lies and the rise of a liar. An almost unstoppable rise. It felt very very ripe for the moment we’re in. It’s perfect for today because noir always speaks about the moment it’s made in. Post-war noir speaks about that anxiety. The Long Goodbye as done by [Robert] Altman speaks about post-Vietnam and so on. This movie felt perfectly suited to discuss where we are today. The cruelty we have for each other and capacity we have to lie.”

Based on a 1946 William Gresham novel, this film is about a carny (played by Bradley Cooper) who dupes others into believing he can communicate with the dead is up for Best Picture, Cinematography, Costume and Production Design. Though it did not do well at the box office, earlier this year in an interview with The Wrap, Del Toro discussed how the experience of working alongside Cooper changed his life and implied they’d partner up again.

“Not to be glib, but it’s all on Bradley. I mean the partnership I had with this guy is the most absolutely immersive partnership I’ve ever had with an actor. Every day we would discover Stan (Cooper’s character) and he would become Stan and embody nothing but the truth. I tell you, that partnership changed my life. It changed the way I shot the movie.”

In our review, we gave it four-and-a-half stars and called the piece a “timelessly dark twist on the American dream” and said it was work that demanded multiple viewings.

The film is now available to stream on HBO Max and Hulu.