The Lighthouse (2019) Movie Review
Written By: JV
Edited By: Grave Review Staff
Director: Robert Eggers
Producer(s): Rodrigo Teixeira, Jay Van Hoy, Robert Eggers, Lourenço Sant’ Anna, et. al.
Writers(s): Robert Eggers, Max Eggers
Date Released: October 18, 2019
Robert Pattinson as Thomas Howard
Willem Dafoe as Thomas Wake
Valeriia Karaman as Mermaid
Logan Hawkes as Ephraim Winslow
Rating = 3/5 Graves
***May contain some spoilers***
The story focuses on two lighthouse keepers, Thomas Wake (Willem Dafoe) and Ephraim Winslow (Robert Pattinson) who struggle to stay sane amidst the isolation and resentment of their jobs. Wake, the elder and boss, is a long time keeper, and Winslow is the new arrival replacing the previous and deceased keeper for four weeks. Both work as lighthouse keepers stationed on a remote island. Every day, Howard tasks consist of refueling the light, carrying kerosene containers, disposing of their chamber pots and so on.
As Thomas Wake orders Thomas Howard around which made Howard uncomfortably annoyed as he keeps on doing a fine job. Howard then grows this displacement anger towards seagulls which Wake had warned not to kill for they lead misfortunes along the way. Wake continues to befriend Howard by telling tall tales during dinner.
Howard became frustrated and curious to see what is on the top of the lighthouse since Wake forbade him to see which turns into an obsession. He began to have hallucinations of the sea monster with tentacles, the lobster trap containing the head of Wake’s past associate on the island and a mermaid which he is having sexual intercourse with.
Then as both men, Thomas Wake and Thomas Howard are working as Lighthouse keeper for four weeks but the storm came leaving them stranded. They became desperate that suddenly lead to frustration which made them drink kerosene. They both slide further into drunken stupors, and between intoxicated bouts of bonding and sharing stories of their pasts, it is clear they cannot stand each other. The audience knows one of them will crack, but who?
The film had inflicted gore factor even when it was taken in black and white. Howard also shows an annoyance towards the seagulls at the beginning of the film wherein he tried to smash it to death. There is enough violent scenes in the movie like where a man hits another man in the head with a kettle-like object, before putting an axe to his head, presumably killing him. There are graphic images like seagulls pecking away at a naked and disemboweled man who is also missing an eye.
The Grave Review
The Lighthouse (2019) is well crafted and directed. The lighting and sound effects further emphasize the bleak island and its deep gloom despite the film being black and white. Crumbling structures, old, creaky equipment, and the rain and waves pushing the island and its two inhabitants are all incredibly immersive. In the film, the audience can feel themselves in colonial New England, and here the island likewise feels real, which is an interesting contrast to the uncertainty of what the two men are experiencing as the story progresses. The camerawork is excellent, from the long wide shots of the island to the close-ups of the terrain and the tight scenes of the men indoors all convey the mood perfectly. It really is a technical film-making showcase.
The best part of the movie is the standout performances of every character. Dafoe plays his character like a stereotype of a mariner, but it works well against the film’s true star Pattinson. He’s had a string of well received performances but this one will put him on the map as one of the most talented actors of his generation. Wilson is a complex character that goes through a lot, and Pattinson nails the physical intensity of his arc perfectly. There are later moments of pure eye-bulging madness that would be comical in most other contexts but Pattinson makes them scary as can be.
For the foregoing reasons, Grave Reviews gives The Lighthouse (2019) three graves out of five graves.
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