Review: The Lighthouse (2019 Fantastic Fest)


Title: The Lighthouse
MPAA Rating: R
Director: Robert Eggers
Starring: Willem Dafoe, Robert Pattinson, Valeriia Karaman
Runtime: 1 hr 49 mins

What It Is: When a mysterious man named Ephraim Winslow (Pattinson) accepts a job as a lighthouse keeper he is working with the elder keeper Thomas Wake (Dafoe). As the two try to maintain they’re sanity it is perhaps the beach that will win and drive them to insanity. Even more mysterious then Ephraim is the New England island in which their lighthouse is situated. With allusions to Greek mythology, there’s an evident fear and suspense in their exercise with the wickie.

What We Think: So much of the glory here stems from the utter brilliance in filmmaking Eggers exhibits. From the decision to shoot in 35 mm black and white to the choice to only really feature the two leads there are some bonkers things done here and Eggers knocks them out of the park. Dafoe and Pattinson have a sickening amount of chemistry as they play off of one another. The storytelling here is top-notch and it has to be as it’s all or nothing. There are no flashy effects or bells and whistles there in order to mask it. The anger and jealousy, fear and uncertainty are all calculated and present. All of it shining like the titular beacon and signaling that Robert Eggers is a filmmaker to be reckoned with. We all know Defoe is talented and could snag a third consecutive Oscar-nomination. It’s Pattinson though that the general audience needs to wake up to. He’s been killing it for years. Good TimeHigh Life, and The Rover are all examples of this so before you doubt this guy give those a watch.

Our Grade: A+, This is one of if not the best film of the year. I’m notoriously not a horror movie fan but the beauty in this is it isn’t really a horror film. Not in a conventional sense at least. If you have the extraordinary pleasure to get to see this one on the big screen do so. There are not many films in my opinion that can equal this goliath feature. Perhaps The Farewell can get there perhaps there’s a film yet to be reviewed that’ll beat it. We’ll see what happens. In the meantime enjoy this stellar piece.

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