The Lighthouse - A Movie Review
'The Lighthouse' is a well-acted mystical tale.
It’s best to steer clear of the lighthouse. You will only go bonkers from perpetual isolation.
The Lighthouse is a 2019 drama-fantasy about two lighthouse keepers living together on an isolated island. As the hours tick by, the men go about in their normal routine, aggravating one another. Beginning to go mad, seeing visions in their drunken fantasies it is only a matter of time before the island becomes a living nightmare.
In the instant that I saw the trailer, I was intrigued by this black and white film that holds a dark story. The Lighthouse is a well-acted mystical tale about the terrors of isolation asking yourself the question of what is real and testing you what images reflect your spiraling imagination.
Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson are outstanding in the roles of two men who have contrasting personalities but have to learn to live with one another’s quirks on a solitary island. You can just feel the tension during their scenes at dinner, going mad as they drunkenly dance about singing, until confronting each other in well-acted performances.
In a role that completely contrasts Pattinson’s past characters as Edward Cullin from Twilight or Cedric Diggory in Harry Potter, I am impressed with how he captured a sullen man who slowly loses control, seeing visions the longer he lives on this island.
One of the most important aspects of Pattinson’s character is adjusting to a temporary life. Sometimes life requires us to make decisions that are essential for our direction in life. These decisions test our abilities and how to open up to people who you wouldn’t typically spend time with.
Willem Dafoe is a terrific actor who can capture a different personality in any film role that he is given. His grisly sailor voice was excellent. Dafoe steals scenes. In one of my favorite scenes, Dafoe chews out Pattinson for making fun of his cooking in one of the most over the top yet very well-acted argument.
Obviously, Dafoe and Pattinson worked very hard on this movie as it was reported that both actors were so exhausted by the end of each day of filming that they never had a real conversation until filming wrapped!
The Lighthouse is a very different film. From the black and white format, unnerving sounds, it feels as though this movie was released in the 40s. Films have gone through changes over the past century. I love that The Lighthouse tries a hand at something different instead of following along with the typical structure for movies now.
Filming in Novia Scotia with actual handmade constructions of the sets, it was difficult to film due to extreme weather. The setting is a mixture of a beautiful island that surrounds a scenic view mixed with a place that I never want to be stuck on. Scenes that took place inside the lighthouse on a spiral staircase or in an upstairs cramped bedroom were great sets that captured the cabin fever mood of the story.
Robert Eggers created a dramatic and yet strange film with an ending that completely holds your attention trying to understand what is real and what is all in your head. The camera angles are great, tracing the screen in long close-ups of the sailors trying to comprehend the drama. The editing of the film is excellent with quick shots that easily delivered an outstanding story which I hope gets nominated at this year’s Oscars.
I very much recommend that you watch The Lighthouse. Some scenes, mostly the ending, are startling because of the bleak subject matter. Nonetheless, I devoured the enticing story from this outstanding work.