How the seven deadly sins play into ‘Nightmare Alley’
Guillermo del Toro’s “Nightmare Alley” is a cauldron of color steeped in symbolism that tells the chilling self-destructive tale of Stanton Carlisle (Bradley Cooper), a drifter-turned-carnival showman. Production design and cinematography harmonize palette, mood and texture while revealing a downward spiral with perspective. “We wanted to shoot low and wide angle shots and push behind Stan so you see the world together with him,” says cinematographer Dan Laustsen. “We see the ceilings in the sets as a way to keep the feeling that his character is inside a box.” Steel blues and warm hues paint an alluring visual aesthetic while clues to Stan’s downfall take center stage in a fun house as he’s searching for the sideshow’s missing geek. Production designer Tamara Deverell crafted depictions of the seven deadly sins that lurk in the shadows, heads of the devil were brushed with tempered reds, dozens of eyes represent those who stare and circle symbolism carves a path asking, “Are you a sinner?” For Stan, the answer has already been written.
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