The Lighthouse

The Lighthouse ★★

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.




The only movie I walked out of while being a Movie Pass subscriber was called The Lighthouse. It was a different film, but the emphasis of both films was the same: two men going mad in a lighthouse . At the end of the Eggers film, it notes that it was based on the journals of Herman Miller. 

It’s very raw and starts out like an ode to Béla Tarr. Ephraim Winslow (Robert Pattinson) joins Thomas Wake (Willem Dafoe) working at a lighthouse that is pretty far out there. Wake is in charge. In addition to his flatulence, he is a control freak. The main reason to see this film would be to see Wake’s gruesome and even otherworldly expressions. It has the same eerie feeling as Get Out, although the filmmaking is completely different stylistically. It even felt like a remake of The Birds in the beginning, with the seagulls circling around almost viciously. The seagulls are sacred to Wake; yet despite warnings, Winslow has almost no regard for them (see vegan alerts). The two men are at odds constantly. It’s a power struggle and both parties seem to have valid reasons to rip the other apart.

Unfortunately, there seemed to be a digital error during the artistic sequence featuring a nude Willem Dafoe. 

For the two male actors, each has a dream role. They basically get to let loose, show their chops, go crazy, and embark on a journey that few actors dare to even dream of. 

“I’ll beg if that’s what you want.”

I had a number of problems with the film. First, Winslow asks Wake not to treat him like a housewife — as if it’s okay to ask for a woman to do housework, but not him. Also, the accents were oftentimes incomprehensible. Dafoe took on a character and used seafaring terms. Thanks to the French subtitles in the theater, I was able to follow the dialogue a bit more closely. Thirdly, the violence to humans and animals was out of control. 

It is such a warped story that I really had little interest in checking it out initially. There was a sold out screening after Cannes at the Forum des Images in Paris. I was the second person in the standby line and got in with no problem. Some fellow attendees in Cannes warned me about the animal violence in the film. I tried to bring it up in a previous entry, but some of my comments were misunderstood. Yes, violence to seagulls was shown in the film. No, no one answered directly to a question whether or not there was any real violence to animals in the film. No, there wasn’t any blurb in the end credits that no animals were harmed. 

Vegan alert:
-Seagulls are swatted. 
-Lobster is consumed. 
-A seagull meets a brutal end. 
-Ephraim’s fantasy sex scene with a mermaid. 
-Ephraim desires steak strongly.

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