This review is spoiler-free.
The Lighthouse is Robert Eggers second film (the first being VVitch) and this time we follow Ephraim (Robert Pattinson) and Thomas (Willem Dafoe) as they lose their minds while caring for a lighthouse.
The two men are immediately at odds as the seasoned Thomas wants to make Ephraim do the grunt work while Thomas seems to take the easier tasks. The two also don’t seem to get along too much, particularly as Thomas constantly berates and scolds his new second. The tension between the characters is amplified by their isolation, oddities in the surroundings, and an increasingly powerful sense of dread as the film develops.
You have probably heard that this movie is weird. It is—kind of. The film draws upon many different legacies, myths, stories, themes, and even genres. Imagine H.P. Lovecraft’s take on The Shining while reading Greek mythology and reading masculinity theory. That is about the best I can give for a genre.
The plot is likewise difficult to fully elaborate. What happens when you can’t trust yourself? Or trust the only other person you are with? How would you react when isolated, scared, and potentially doomed?
The viewing experience is a treat. Shot in wonderful black and white we get to see excellent acting as these characters become increasingly erratic in their behaviors. The dialogue is almost always a misdirection, leaving you reeling as you try to figure out what exactly is happening. There really isn’t a dull moment here.
Excellent acting from both leads propels this movie into something truly special. I know horror is always ignored by the academy, but damn this movie deserves serious recognition. You’ll puzzle over the meaning of what you see and think about the implications long after the credits roll.
The film is odd, but I never found it confusing. It is less straight forward than VVitch or even Hereditary, so do be prepared to do a bit of sleuthing as a viewer.
See this movie. I can’t saw much as I want this to be as spoiler free as possible. I may do a deep dive (something I have toyed with before) on this one at a later date but wanted to give this one my mark of approval as early as I could.
One of the best of the year.