It's a trippy, wacky movie that won't be for everyone, but it's a film that may just shine some award-season love on its two stars.
"The Lighthouse" might be the most bizarre, polarizing film of 2019, and that's saying quite a lot in a year that has given us "Midsommar," "The Nightingale" and "Joker." Writer/Director Robert Eggers exploded into Hollywood's consciousness a few years back with his mesmerizing, stylish horror-flick, "The Witch," and now it's time that someone asks: Is this Eggers guy feeling OK?
Shot in black & white and in a boxy aspect ratio that won't fill up the movie screen or your TV at home, "The Lighthouse" is a masterpiece of mood, sound and paranoia. The premise is simple: It's near the turn of the 19th Century, and two lighthouse keepers on an unnamed English isle begin their three-month long assignment. Newcomer Ephraim Winslow (Robert Pattinson) joins the crusty old veteran sea dog Thomas Wake (Willem Dafoe), and the two slowly descend into the mouth of madness.
Not everything is at is seems in "The Lighthouse," but wow if there isn't another film that puts you right there in the thick of it with its characters in the way this one does. You'll want to take a shower and brush your teeth about 10 minutes into "The Lighthouse," as the dirt, the scum and the brine will feel palpable. You'll also begin to question your own sanity and may feel the urge to gasp for breath while wading through this claustrophobic mood piece.
Both Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe are EXCEPTIONAL. Pattinson has been choosing some bold, strategic roles in recent years, and this performance here should tuck his "Twilight" past far behind him. And Dafoe commands the screen like he's never quite done before, although we've always known he's capable of. His Thomas Wake not only chews up the scenery around him, he bites down hard on it, chips a tooth, swallows it whole and lets out a massive belch. He gives a monologue late in the film dealing with Krakens and other bat-shit-crazy stuff that you can just picture being played in the Best Supporting Actor film clip montages that will air later this Fall.
But what's this all about? "The Lighthouse" is a film-nerd's wet-dream, a movie that does everything right from a technical standpoint. But it goes so far off the rails that I'm not sure it resonates. Each spin around "The Lighthouse" seems to shed less and less light on what is actually going on, resulting in a movie that has more flash than flesh.
Genre: Drama, Fantasy, Horror.
Run Time: 1 hour 49 minutes.
Starring: Robert Pattinson, Willem Dafoe.
Co-Written and Directed by Robert Eggers ("The Witch").
"The Lighthouse" is opening in limited-release on Friday, October 25th, 2019.
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