Film Review - The Lighthouse
>> The air looks crisp, and a storm is brewing in the distance. Two salty sea dogs succumb to the worst case of cabin fever to ever be depicted on screen. Has Robert Eggers instantly become one of the most accomplished directors of our time? The Lighthouse splashes in with a resounding “yes”.
In 1890’s New England, a gassy lighthouse keeper Thomas Wake (Willem Dafoe) brings on a new trainee Ephraim Winslow (Robert Pattinson). Winslow is quickly subjected to the most grueling chores by a knackering Wake. When a storm hits the remote island where the two men are stationed, delusion and uncertainty bloom. The two have trouble piecing together reality and come to be the most dysfunctional pair of roommates, ever. The Lighthouse is the most absurd, ludacris, and wild experience, but you’ll enjoy every second.
The Lighthouse is Egger’s sophomore film. His first feature, The Witch remains to be one of the greatest horror films from the past decade. However, where his two features differ is in Eggers’s dedication to historical accuracy in the visual language of The Lighthouse. Shot on 35mm black and white film, every shot in The Lighthouse is meticulously and exquisitely composed. The film’s 1.33:1 (square) ratio is purposefully used, especially due to the film’s motifs which are vertical in nature (i.e. a 200-foot tall lighthouse). Unlike other films that dabble with strange aspect ratios and old technologies just for aesthetic purposes, it makes sense for The Lighthouse given its setting and story. I can’t imagine this film being as impactful without its slick silver film grain veneer—it wouldn’t be the same.
Hypothetically, if we found someone that truly lived under a rock and showed them The Lighthouse, I genuinely believe they would have a hard time understanding that this film was made in 2019. Not a single prop, bottle, or button will break your immersion from this 1890’s New England seascape. Both Dafoe’s and Pattinson’s faces even meld flawlessly with the film’s art direction. Not to mention, thanks to Dafoe’s theatre background, his performance even feels vintage. The performances from Pattinson and Dafoe are unquestionably two that will go down in history.
Written by Eggers and his brother Max, The Lighthouse is brimming with witty dialogue, which is in a constant crescendo until the film’s final moments. Those Eggers boys really have a way with words. This film is more comical than half of the comedy films I have seen in my lifetime. The writing has a briny tang that will supply you with endless creative insults. Eggers, who’s a self-proclaimed sea-curse writing genius, relied on Max for the narrative structure of the film. There’s a magnitude of ways to interpret The Lighthouse and its brash storyline. There are many questions and so few answers, which is what will make it endlessly watchable.
Eggers is a filmmaker who I wholeheartedly admire, his dedication to his craft is inspiring and is always present on-screen. The Lighthouse is a timeless masterpiece—a work of art that we will be talking about in the decades to follow. It is undoubtedly the most well-crafted film of the past decade. 10/10 <<
The Lighthouse opened in theatres on October 18th.