Title – The Lighthouse (2019)
Director – Robert Eggers (The Witch)
Cast – Robert Pattinson, Willem Dafoe
Plot – In the 1890’s, two New England lighthouse keepers (Pattinson and Dafoe) battle each other and their inner demons as they try to keep their sanity in the midst of a madness inducing island of isolation and trials.
“Yer fond of me lobster ain’t ye?”
Review by Eddie on 05/02/2020
With 2015’s The Witch, director Robert Eggers announced himself as one of the most exciting new talents of the decade.
A brilliantly realized slice of New English folk horror, The Witch was the work of a filmmaker who knows and is at home in his art form.
As we watched in terror as an unfortunate family found themselves living with a particularly dastardly goat on the border of a set of woods you wouldn’t want to hold a picnic in, Eggers displayed a deft hand behind camera as his unique vision unfolded before our eyes.
With such a well-rounded debut under his name, hopes were high across the industry that Eggers next project would further solidify the hype and with a return to a New England setting this time in the late 1890’s, The Lighthouse further enhances Eggers reputation amongst the top class of upcoming directors, even if The Lighthouse’s more bare-bones story and snail-paced proceedings will mean it finds itself both loved and hated in equal measure.
Quite simply the story of Willem Dafoe’s and Robert Pattinson’s isolated lighthouse keepers, the grissled and gassy Thomas Wake and the under-prepared Thomas Howard, The Lighthouse is far more psycho-drama than pure horror, as this Greek mythology laden event takes us on a journey of two men crumbling in different ways as their job and its dangers begin to take hold.
As with The Witch, The Lighthouse is stunningly well-shot and put together in a film-making sense, with Eggers getting great help from his hauntingly beautiful black and white photography courtesy of Oscar nominated cinematographer Jarin Blaschke, the films goose-bump inducing score by Mark Korven and his script co-written with brother Max while the films central performances are both a sight to behold.
Creating one of 2019’s great acting double acts, Pattinson and Dafoe excel as the two Thomas’s with the two well-liked actors giving their all to the film.
Featuring in some scenes and images that won’t soon be forgotten (a scene with a feathered visitor, images of a beached mermaid and Dafoe getting up close and personal with a light source some such moments), both performers are awards worthy in their respective turns.
With so much worth recommending, it’s sad to report that the journey we go on in the snail paced Lighthouse is one that depends a lot on it’s final destination and with a procession of repetitive situations and seemingly unimportant scenes littering Eggers film, by the time we finally get the films end game, you can’t help but shake the feeling the potential of where we are being taken is quickly overshadowed by a surprisingly weak final stretch that doesn’t leave much of a lasting impression for what is at times such an original and impressive offering.
Final Say –
Sure to find some ardent fans amongst many that will question what all the fuss is about, The Lighthouse is a technically brilliant sophomore effort from Robert Eggers that features two standout performances but it’s slow and metaphor filled examination of masculinity and the male psyche makes for an unpleasing narrative experience.
3 seagulls out of 5