Daniel’s review published on Letterboxd:
I’d fuck a steak too if I was stuck there for five weeks.
Winslow is hired as a wickie (although he’s technically an assistant) to an elderly man called Wake, he’s set to work there for a month and then his time is done.
Ahh here we go again, giving another film a ridiculous amount of praise. I’d love to hear Eggers talk about his thought processes with this one honestly, because so much of it is open to interpretation and that’s all I can really do right now. Let’s get the meat of what this film is about (without spoiling anything) out into the open. Two guys, on an isolated island for four weeks, awful weather, working. It’s subtle in premise but immediately from the get go these guys have clashing personalities, that’s just how some people are. We see these personalities clash in so many different ways though, not just as indifference but even the sense of reality itself goes completely out of the window in their conflict. I felt like I was going just as mad as they were, or maybe they were always mad, or maybe something else. The film is beautifully made and I think it’s fully established at this point that Eggers is a master of these period settings. It almost feels like a pseudo-history lesson at times with the level of detail he gets done. Again going back to the plot, there’s lots of fine details that again could be taken in many different ways; role reversal? What does the lighthouse represent? Are we even alive at this point? What IS life? I think this film presents such an open viewpoint it’s kinda overwhelming at times. Let’s talk about our leading boys; Defoe and Pattinson, I’m a big fan of both of these guys and I think they both absolutely kill it in different ways. They’re both phenomenal in the acting performance but they’re both also amazing in the accents they give in the film, Pattinson goes for a sort of 19th century almost fictitious American accent, and it really works. Where as Defoe goes for a salty seadog voice, like a generic fisherman but he does it in such a fine way that it doesn’t come off as remotely cheesy. The film is lowkey hilarious at times and the two guys even share a sense of camaraderie, I think that’s an element of human nature coming through and a really bold risk for Eggers to take in the writing but I think it works well here. I wouldn’t say the film breaks any boundaries in the scares department and I don’t think it’s going to go down as a favourite with a lot of the horror community. That’s similar to The Witch though, Eggers clearly loves this period, hence why he’s taking on Nosferatu. His films are a bit of an acquired taste, and I think he improves in every department with his sophomore effort.
The Lighthouse is Eraserhead made in the 2010s for me. It’s so subjective and open to interpretation which just makes it so fascinating to discuss. Not only that the bleak atmosphere, isolated setting and phenomenal acting performances really push it to be one of the best horror films. Yeah, ever.