Dir. Robert Eggers
Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)
“Hark Triton, hark! Bellow, bid our father the Sea King rise from the depths full foul in his fury…”
Seafarer beware the beguiling light of The Lighthouse – this new tale of sinister goings-on, superstition and madness from Director Rober ‘The VVitch’ Eggers is salty fare.
Telling the tale of two Lighthouse keepers or ‘wickies’ who both have dark secrets. Ephraim Winslow (Robert Pattinson) is a broken former lumberjack, whilst the grizzled experienced keeper Thomas Wake (Willem Dafoe) seems to be unnaturally possessive of the upper light chamber... This mismatched duo must man the lighthouse on a strange grey islet off the coast of late-19th-century New England, but all might not be so straight forward as the last assistant wickie killed himself citing influence from bad omens and enchantments.
'secrets and lies'
Folk tales work when the set-up is simple, but the underbelly is deep, packed with creeping dread, unnatural events and sights and sounds that will unnerve you. The Lighthouse is a brilliant but very odd film, presented in black and white on 35mm – immediately evoking David Lynch’s 1977 cult classic Eraserhead. The similarities don’t end there as both films take the viewer on a sensory assault, where at times you don’t even really know quite what’s going on…
Both Pattinson and Dafoe are incredible – bringing their absolute A-game to the party and making the film crackle with energy arcing between them. There is an initial animosity between them as Winslow disregards stern warnings from Wake about seemingly trivial matters such as the seagulls (who are said to carry the souls of drowned sailors). But they make it work initially until after a confrontation with one of the seabirds the wind turns, and the island is enclosed in a storm.
This is no gentle character study - there are scenes of violence, much rum language and if you’ve ever wanted a see a mermaid’s lady parts then there’s interspecies sex that makes The Shape of Water looks tame.
'beware the siren'
As the two men’s trust breaks down (just what are those tentacles glimpsed in the light chamber?) and the relief fails to turn up, so their tour of duty is extended indefinitely the atmosphere begins to boil as wildly as the tempestuous seas around the island.
“Boredom makes men into villains” Wake declares at one point and as sanity slips away the line between fantasy and reality ruptures with dark consequences.
Available on Netflix soon if you can find in the cinema – this is awesome, crazed viewing.
'a hallowed beam?'
Out of a potential 5 - you have to go with a Darkmatters:
(5 - Sensory overload of a most salty kind)
Awesomeness öööö – Both the leads are on God-tier form
Laughs ööö – Dark and dirty humour (lots of farts)
Horror öööö– Dread and unnerving events plus violence
Spiritual Enlightenment öö - In the mouth of madness
Click this image for darkness!!