The Lighthouse Review
At its heart The Lighthouse is quite a simple story. Two men are sent to an island to look after a lighthouse for 4 weeks, but a storm strikes the day before they are supposed to leave and from there everything begins to get twisted and unhinged.
Dafoe’s portrayal of an ageing, Lighthouse keeper is simply wonderful, leaving you just lost in his maritime trans-Atlantic accent and haggard face. Pattinson’s character, a frustrated younger man, seeking to make money for himself to try and get away from his less than happy past, is the heart of this dark tale; he takes his character’s descent into madness and runs with it.
Pattinson and Dafoe hold the camera well, considering it is just them for effectively the whole film. The sudden change from the monotony of Pattinson’s daily tasks on the island to the bleak candle-lit evenings, ensures that just when you just begin to settle in with the rhythm of the days, you will soon be thrown by some new revelation or terrifying sequence.
The movie is filmed in a 1.19:1 aspect ratio which means that the action on screen is always right in front of your eye, and there are very few points where your eyes are drawn away from the two stars. When combined with the whole film being in black-and-white emphasises the unwelcoming narrative that Dafoe and Pattinson have to weave their way through. At times it feels as if you are looking into the past, and you feel uncomfortable because of it.
By the end it seems that we are left with more questions than answers. It’s one of those films that will leave you thinking. All together the performances of Dafoe and Pattinson are brilliant; they hold the narrative together and they never fail to hold your concentration. The direction and production by Robert Eggers is perfect, making your world for nearly two hours, just two men, an island and a lighthouse. The often dark and sometimes humorous writing, also by Eggers and his brother Max seems to be akin to a ghost story lost to the waves long ago.
If you love a film that leaves you feeling intrigued and uncomfortable; something that is more than a little out of the ordinary, then The Lighthouse is for you. It’s sometimes hard to find the light in the storm but it’s an experience not to be missed.