There are titles that have an immediate and evocative power of seduction. The content may not be up to them, but what they promise in their statement has a sentimental magnet. For example, my favorite is from a rare and only acceptable film that Coppola directed in his early days. Its original title was rain people. Is there anyone who gives more? Or that of the latest installment of the disturbing, terrifying and tender director Guillermo del Toro. It doesn’t belong to you, it’s the Redo from a film shot in 1947, which I have never seen and starring Tyrone Power. Is named The alley of lost souls. It sounds like a sad sax on a jazz song, a Tom Waits song, or a book signed by Scott Fitzgerald. It can give wings to the imagination of sensitive receivers, or who have ever felt in the alley of lost souls.
At the end of this movie I have a strange feeling. And I don’t know if I liked it or not. I have followed it shot by shot, it is endowed with the atmosphere and narrative of the cinema of other times, it makes me a little uneasy, it accumulates hypnotic images, but for some strange reason I cannot get into the skin or the heart of its cheaters or wicked characters. I see them from outside, they do not cause me any special mystery. The opposite happens to me the shape of water, in which Guillermo del Toro managed to get involved with all of them, including that Amazonian monster who had a moving love story with the endearing and mute cleaner. That delusional romanticism seemed credible to me. Also the infinite evil of the guardian of the laboratory in which they have confined that human-fish. However, here I attend the twisted adventures of these professionals of the mentalist scam with a bit of coldness. The ending seems pointlessly long to me and its extensive footage weighs me down a bit. Something that happens to me with most American cinema of recent times. Many exceed two hours in length. And in most cases I ask myself: why?
I suspect that Del Toro must be in love, like so many movie buffs with a palate, of monsters, that masterpiece about horror and compassion that in an unusual and courageous attitude a great Hollywood studio dared to produce. As in that wonder, the first part of the alley of lost souls It is set in a traveling fairground show, a temple of false wonders and strange creatures, due to their physique or playing a role. Here they tell the apprenticeship in that circus of a man who is fleeing from a sinister event. And this goes from the tricks taught by his lover, an experienced clairvoyant, to the deceptions of height and the economic wealth that a sophisticated and enigmatic psychiatrist of the rich provides him. Everything is tortuous. Likewise, we sense that there will be a big surprise at the end, but the development of the plot leaves me neither hot nor cold.
Bradley Cooper, who continuously falls in love with a varied and large audience, is not in the group of my favorite actors, although I do not disdain him either. Yes, very credible supporting actors and actresses appear. And Cate Blanchett, that lady who exudes elegance and morbidity: she always compensates me when I see her and listen to her. It is a film in possession of a certain aroma, although something very necessary is missing. I’m not clear what it is.
the alley of lost souls
Direction: William of the Bull
Interpreters: Bradley Cooper, Cate Blanchett, Toni Collette, Rooney Mara, Willem Dafoe, David Stranthairn.
Gender: drama. USA, 2021.
Duration: 150 minutes.
Premiere: January 21.
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.