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The Lighthouse [Review]

Updated: Oct 27, 2019

Film: The Lighthouse Cast: Willem Dafoe & Robert Pattinson Produced by: Regency Enterprises Written by: Robert & Max Eggers Score: Max Korven Directed by: Robert Eggers Review by: Tony Romniou Rating: 3.5 X's out of 5 Xs After watching films like Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas or A Clockwork Orange, I found myself saying “What did I just watch?” The Lighthouse is one of those movies. You’re questioning how the concept of the film makes any sense. After questioning yourself you start to critique it and think ‘how would I explain this film to someone, would I recommend it? Where would I begin?’ You get that awkward feeling where you liked it enough to see it again in theatres but know that this film isn’t for everyone, how do you explain that? As I sit here writing this, I keep replaying the scenes in my head, the back and forth banter between the outstanding performances by Robert Pattinson, who has successfully distanced himself from the Twilight movies of a now distant past, and accompanied by the legendary Willem Dafoe. I appreciate what I saw, I appreciate what I experienced. The Lighthouse is truly a masterpiece….. an eerie and bizarre masterpiece. Director Robert Eggers (The Witch) work on this film brings audiences back in time to experience film in black and white. Clearly, not common in cinema today. This film could have been silent and it would have had the same impact. There were times when I found myself wondering if I was watching a film from the Charlie Chaplin era. The characters at times moving either in a fast pace, or long stares by the characters into the camera with no dialogue. Sometimes the facial expressions do all the talking. Eggers uses the shadows to bring out the horror the characters on screen have embodied. He uses a daunting music score to build the scene and have you feel what the characters are feeling. He uses light for when the characters feel as tho they may have a glimmer of hope. Eggers uses old tradition and superstition to set up the higher being and the third character in the film, which is represented by two objects. A Seabird and the enchantment in the light of the lantern. Its bad luck to decline a drink toast when it’s offered, its also bad luck to kill a seabird. Is there a higher being that’s controlling the mood? What’s in the light? If you’ve ever been black out drunk your memories are just snapshots. You only remember bits and pieces and of course you have no reasoning for your actions. You were drunk. Dafoe and Pattinson take the audience on a belligerent and drunken escapade that leads to insanity, literally. Scenes jump. One scene starts in a different place where the last scene ends. As the audience you don’t know how you got there, but its okay, because you realize neither do the characters. The audience leaves the theatre feeling the cabin fever experienced by Thomas and Winslow. “How long have we been on this rock? 5 weeks? 2 days?” There’s no sense of time other than day time and night time. Every stage of being drunk is displayed, the happy go lucky phase, the angry phase, the sad phase, and even the hallucination phase. Eggers perfectly sets up polarizing moments when the characters are dancing in drunken happiness one second and then the next, has them screaming at each other in a murderous rage, for no reason. But, it’s their norm. There’s no satisfaction at the end, yet you’re glad you got to experience it. It leaves you thinking, what was the correlation between the two characters? Other than living together in a lighthouse, how were they connected? One of the characters was actually normal, the environment he was in was all he knew. It was his life. He had succumbed to his surroundings. The other was driven insane and had difficulty coming to terms with his environment. This film and it's eerie aesthetic come just in time for the Halloween season, I recommend giving this unconventional thriller a chance.


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