The Lighthouse (2020) A Review

No cinema in my area was showing this when it came out.  So now that it is available on Amazon, I am taking full advantage.  And what a wild ride it was!

Certificate: 15

Director: Robert Eggers

Screenwriter: Robert Eggers, Max Eggers

Starring: Robert Pattinson, Willem Dafoe, Valeriia Karaman

Genre: Drama, Horror

Runtime: 109 Minutes

Rating: 4 Stars

Reviewed by: Pearl

Two men who are tending to a lighthouse have to battle to maintain their sanity after their relief ship never arrives to take them home and they are stranded on the deserted island.  Isolation starts to take it’s toll and slowly reality starts to get distorted.  Or is someone just playing really elaborate mind games to make it appear that way?  No0one really knows, please don’t make me write a synopsis for this thing because it’s impossible OK?

So this is a film that I think will stay with me for quite a while.  It isn’t a horror in the classic sense of the word.  More, it’s a film whose atmosphere and subject matter at times take on a horrific tone.   There is no doubt t at there are parts of this film that will make you cringe and parts that will creep you out, but it isn’t a film for people who like their horror movies to be a cut and dry story.  It is hard to tell what is part of reality and what is happening solely inside the heads of our main characters. 

We mostly experience the film through the eyes of Ephraim Winslow, a young Lighthouse Keepers Assistant, who we learn towards the middle of the film has a dark past and is on the run.  However, the isolation of the lighthouse, and possibly a lot of manipulation and brain rotting home brewed alcohol, mean that Ephraim starts to lose track of reality.  Meaning that we as the audience do too.  Buckle your seat belts adventurers because the crazy train is about to leave the station. 

Robert Pattinson does a phenomenal job in this film as Winslow.  He starts out so straight laced, or so we are lead to believe, and then we slowly see him start to unravel until at the end, he has suffered a complete mental break.  His mental stability may already have been a little on the rocky side if you pay attention to his backstory as he relays it to Tom, but it is heavily implied here that the old lighthouse keeper he is serving with is purposefully driving him to insanity, as he did with his previous assistant.  Willem Defoe gives an equally excellent performance here, and gives one of the best delivered monologues I have seen in a long time when he calls down a curse on poor Ephraim just because the poor boy doesn’t like his cooking.  I would recommend seeing this film for the magnificent performances of the two lead actors alone.  Both of them have commented on how exhausted they were filming this film due to the purely miserable conditions of the location, so extra points awarded for the amazing results they got.

The film is entirely shot in Black and White and with an Aspect Ratio 1.19:1, a decision that Eggers made VERY early on in the process.  It really adds to the claustrophobic feel of the film and adds a dark and gloomy feel over everything, even before the craziness starts to happen.

If like me, you couldn’t find this film upon release, it is now available to buy on Amazon for £9.99, and I believe well worth the price, but be warned, go in with an open mind, it will not be what you are expecting, and you walk away having NO IDEA what the hell just happened.  But in the best way possible!

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