The Lighthouse review by Bobby Blakey
I wasn’t a big fan of director Robert Eggers 2015 flick The Witch, but still found it inspiring in its storytelling and uniqueness. I was more interested in his latest film though, The Lighthouse starring Willem DaFoe and Robert Pattinson. The trailers offered up an old school black and white style to something that is not overly clear to what’s going on, but could it bring something worth discovering the shore for or will it fail to keep the light on?
The Lighthouse follows two lighthouse keepers on a remote and mysterious New England island in the 1890s. As an approaching storm threatens to sweep them from the rock and strange apparitions emerge from the fog, each man begins to suspect that the other has become dangerously unmoored. Whether you have seen the trailer to this film or not you are likely to still not know what is going on here and that is a good thing. Sure there are the obvious elements of the two losing their mind on some level, but there is so much more strangeness here in the best way possible.
After the world of Twilight I honestly never thought I would be able to praise Pattinson, but over the years he has been churning out great performances with this one being one of his best. Both he and Dafoe give powerful performances here that focus more on the physical and emotional than the dialogue. This creates a more real feeling of uncomfortableness throughout as you try to figure out what is really going on. While Pattinson’s character feels a bit lost and hiding something deep inside, Dafoe is the overbearing life time keeper that knows the ins and outs of the job and the sea. This creates great tension and connection for them both in a dark and beautiful way.
The lighthouse and weather become characters all their own as they make this film work. The black and white choice helps to pull the lights, rain and
environment into the forefront to create a real and unnerving locale for these characters to reside in. At times it feels as though the weather is getting as hostile as their personas making it all work in harmony to perfection. There are moments where the film goes off the rails into a direction I had no idea we were heading and it worked to further the film into something even better. It’s hard to tell sometimes what is real and what is not right up until the end, but that is kind of the point. These moments will no doubt shock some and disgust others, but felt it took it to a deeper level to showcase their unhinged minds falling deeper into darkness.
There is so much to unlock here and experience, but it is a film that will not work for everyone. I loved it, but recognize how someone else might hate it. There is a slow burn here that is often hard to follow dues to the lack of holding the audiences hand, but I for one saw the light and it guided me right into this masterpiece.