Synopsis & Review Nightmare Alley (2021), The Tragedy of Greedy Scams


An ambitious circus worker learns how to manipulate people and sets out to make his own fortune with his girlfriend. Being a well-known psychic in the city, he is then involved in a crisis when his séance proves to be a lie.

Nightmare Alley is a neo-noir psychological thriller film by Guillermo del Toro released by Searchlight Pictures on December 17, 2021. An adaptation of the novel by William Lindsay Gresham published in 1946, this film is the second adaptation after the previous film which was released in 1946. 1947 starring Tyrone Power.

Being one of the best films of 2021, does this film really have that high quality? Want to know, right? Read the following review which will review all the elements in this film as a reference before watching it.

Stanton “Stan” Carlisle leaves the house he burned and the body he keeps under the floor. Then Stan had time to watch the circus and immediately got a job as a laborer there.

Because of his neatness in work, Stan is then invited by Clem, the owner of the circus, to help him in preparing the circus tent for the next carnival.

Close to Zeena, a fortune teller, Stan helps in the show, also gets the knowledge of manipulating people’s minds from Pete, Zeena’s alcoholic husband. After catching a runaway ” geek ” (weird), Stan and Clem then released the strange person at the church door when it looked like he was dying.

Clem had told Stan how to get a strange person like that, namely by giving a homeless alcoholic who then mixed his drink with opium, so that he became addicted. Then the tramp is offered to work as a freak in the circus even if only temporarily. But because of addiction, they must always be willing.

One night after work, Pete asked Stan to get him a liquor called moonshine that Clem had placed next to dangerous wood alcohol ( methanol ). The next morning, Pete was found dead.

Stan develops a close relationship with Molly, one of the circus performers who gets electrocuted. Stan promises Molly the world if she will come with him to leave the circus. Got caught while trying to escape, in the end they both managed to get out of the circus and live in the city.

Two years later, Stan is already well-known in New York City as a psychic with the nickname ” The Great Stanton .” In one show, Stan’s actions are interrupted by a woman named Lilith Ritter, who turns out to be a psychologist. Stan managed to guess the contents of Lilith’s bag as well as reveal a bit of her past through her ability to read and see the little things about Lilith.

It turned out that Lilith brought Judge Kimball who was restless because his son had just died on the battlefield. Molly initially doesn’t agree with Stan doing this stunt, but Stan still agrees to help Kimball with his problems.

Previously, Stan had visited Lilith in his office with the intention of getting information about Kimball in exchange for Stan willing to undergo a therapy session with Lilith who had guessed that Stan was just a swindler with no occult knowledge. As a result, with enough information, Stan’s actions made Kimball and his wife believe in his ability to see the supernatural.

It turned out that the action that he only wanted to do once, instead continued by bringing him to a famous figure in the city of New York, namely Ezra Grindle. Lilith only wanted to provide a little information about Ezra who was considered by Lilith to be a dangerous figure. At the first meeting, Stan must first pass a lie test with a polygraph.

Quickly, Stan immediately stunned Ezra and fell into his trap of lies. Knowing that Stan’s relationship with Ezra would continue, Lilith didn’t want to give any more information about Ezra.

He just wants to help save the money Stan’s actions in his safe. Lilith had time to show her the scars caused by Ezra’s actions and made Stan cheat on her.

Ezra forces Stan to bring Dory’s spirit to him so he can be more sure. Stan forces Molly to pretend to be Dory’s spirit. Even though she didn’t want to at first, in the end Molly agreed to help Stan one last time. But their deceitful act was caught by Ezra when he hugged Molly who pretended to be Dory’s spirit who had come in the garden.

What happened to Stan and Molly? Did they manage to get away from Ezra’s death threats? Will they continue to be together? Or would Stan prefer Lilith? Lots of questions thrown out of our curiosity, right? So, you have to watch this film to the end and get ready to be surprised by its astonishing ending .

Character Change Due to Greed
Nightmare Alley tells the story of Stan’s character changing slowly due to greed. At first he appears to be a nice person, doesn’t drink alcohol, likes to help people and feels sorry for the strange people he’s watching.

But indeed in the opening scene we know that Stan burns the house with someone’s body in it which slightly implies that he has a bad heart. We are made to suspect that he has buried his past and wants to start a new life in a good way. While in the circus, we don’t see the bad qualities and attitudes of him.

But apparently his attitude changed after becoming famous, even to Molly he loved. And all sides of his psyche begin to be revealed after meeting Lilith, from being his patient and then cooperating in lies to getting involved in an affair.

And this 2 hour 30 minute film explains it clearly but still keeps the mystery side that is revealed little by little.


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