The Lighthouse - This Movie Disturbs More Than Rocks
Dir: Robert Eggers
Starring Robert Pattinson, Willem Dafoe
Director Eggers follows his impressive The Witch with another tale of closed communities, supernatural uncertainties and a terrifying descent into madness.
The closed community in this case is a lighthouse, with its two keepers arriving for the latest months-long stint manning same, Pattinson the innocent newcomer, and Dafoe the gruff, grizzled, secret-keeping returning veteran.
Aided and abetted by a boxy black & white Academy ratio (deliberately as claustrophobic as the film’s central location), Eggers expertly captures the alienating heart of this isolated and unforgiving 1890s New England terrain, into which he casts two men, both on their way to a collapse into madness. This is first fuelled by alcohol and, in Dafoe’s case, excessive farting. But quickly becomes consumed by legend, superstition and a an increasingly surreal imagery. And – naturally – Pattinson furiously jerking off to mermaids.
What begins as a curious, brutal folk tale, soon transcends into the world of genuine horror. Storms rage without just as the real storm brews up inside, between these two men and the mysteries of their shut-off world. There are times when The Lighthouse insists on making its viewers feel as stranded as its central characters with – seemingly and equally – little hope of rescue. There are others however, when its absurdities and extremes are unexpectedly invigorating as much as they are jarring.
It’s not as accomplished a movie as The Witch, sometime simply irritating when it seeks to engross. But it does offer up a particularly brutal moment with a seagull where you can finally say to yourself “Now I can see why they cast R-Patz as Batman!”