I can’t decide if this is an artistic masterpiece or the worst movie I’ve ever seen. Filmed in black and white it’s an old school gothic tale of two Lighthouse keepers in the 1890’s sent to a remote island off the coast of New England to care for a Lighthouse amongst the fog and stormy seas.
The work is tough and unforgiving, hauling lumps of coal around, painting and cleaning, it’s done mostly by Winslow (Robert Pattinson), a younger man who is trying to escape his life, he doesn’t say much and does his job by the book.
He soon grows to dislike his boss, Thomas (Willem Dafoe) who takes pleasure in demeaning him. Dafoe is perfectly cast in this. Boozy, craggy and annoying, he tells long stories and won’t let Winslow up to the top of the lighthouse to ignite the ‘light’. He yells at him that he is the only “keeper of the light”.
He talks in the old sea faring tongue, hard to understand at times but you get the gist of what he’s saying. As they become stranded due to wild weather Winslow starts to fall apart as he descends into madness, not helped by the solitude or the fact he’s now turned to the drink.
He can’t decipher what’s real as he starts to hallucinate. This is ‘The Shining’ by the sea. Instead of Jack Nicholson we have Robert Pattinson.
Robert Eggers (The Witch) wrote the script and directed this. He’s created a slow burn, painfully slow at times but uses the horror imagery to good effect, which is helped by the black and white sinister look of the film.
Pattinson and Dafoe are both great here, they are essentially the only two actors in the film. They both have long stretches of dialogue filled with rage, desperation and some humour. Thomas (Dafoe) tells Winslow at one point to “make the Lighthouse sparkle like a sperm whale’s pecker”.
‘The Lighthouse’ is frustrating, nuts and freaky. It could turn out to be a work of art or a complete waste of your time. I still can’t decide.
hallymustang rating : 3/5 🎥🎥🎥