The Lighthouse: bizarre brilliance

February 21, 2020

 Image courtesy of imdb.com

The Lighthouse is Robert Eggers second film as a director following on from his relatively successful debut film ‘The Witch’. It stars Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson and it was finally released in the United Kingdom three months after its release in the United States.

Firstly, this is a film that should be watched on a big screen. This film has beautiful cinematography and a fantastic use of sound, which will be greatly enhanced by a cinema.

This film is about two lighthouse keepers who lose their sanity on an island as they are left stranded. Yet, this film is so much more. It interweaves Greek mythology, sea myths and delirious insanity to create a weird (don’t check Pattinson’s internet history) yet spellbinding film.

It is shot in black and white which helps to create a claustrophobic feeling along with the lighting. It really makes you feel the bleak surroundings they are in and a severe sense of tension. The technical aspects of this film are very well done.

Many reviews have labelled this as a Lovecraftian type of horror, I would say that this is a lot stranger than anything Lovecraft has produced. This film is not about encountering a terrifying unknown entity and then losing your mind. It is about the inner turmoil of humans, more in the likeness of Edgar Allen Poe or Fyodor Dostoevsky. It is like Kubrick’s The Shining at sea.

Despite the disturbing elements (or maybe because of), this film is incredibly funny at various moments. This is helped by the actor’s chemistry with each other and a solid script. It helps that the film does not take itself too seriously, with several fart jokes emerging throughout.

Willem Dafoe is excellent and has one of the finest beards ever put to screen. His monologue at about the halfway point is the standout part of his performance. It is a travesty that he and this film have largely been snubbed in the awards season.

Robert Pattinson is finally breaking free of his Twilight nightmare and I would hope that most people take him seriously now. Pattinson clearly loves his craft and I am confident that he will thrive in his role as Batman and if this film has established anything, it is that people with the name Robert are slightly insane.

One issue with this film is that it is slow in areas, particularly in the first thirty minutes which may be a bigger issue for casual moviegoers. This is certainly more of a film for curious cinema fanatics, instead of all the general public.

I would recommend this film to third and fourth years writing dissertations, as this film adequately represents the insanity that goes with it. The film also gives a stark warning to those who mess with seagulls.

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