Jodie Stokes’s review published on Letterboxd:
And the most pretentious implied masturbation scene goes to.....
Sums up the entire film really: Masturbatory
Okay I'm being a little facetious, but I can't decide whether this is the most boring interesting film I've seen in a while, or the most interesting boring film I've seen in a while. Eggers attempts a Bergman-esque character study, with an anxious delivery akin to The Hour of the Wolf and a captive setting reminiscent of Autumn Sonata, but unfortunately he just doesn't manage to pull it off. Bergman is one of the very few directors who can make dialogue heavy, sedentary cinema engaging. Eggers' script on the other hand never really gives us much to grasp onto and doesn't possess the same deliberacy, or perhaps the film's just so self-regarding it at least feels that way.
There's a slew of desultory shit strewn throughout and I can't decide whether Egger's was exploiting the premise of a descent into madness or trying to clumsily convey it. In that respect, I wouldn't be surprised if Egger's drew inspiration from Wheatley's decidedly cryptic A Field in England (which I'm still agnostic about). Also, Pattinson's accent was an inconsistent jumbled mess (and that's even before he got trolleyed) whereas Dafoe, on the other hand, over committed and teetered on caricature. The contradistinction of the two performances and the weird spliced in elements throughout completely took me out of the film.
But credit where credit's due, The Lighthouse does have a lot of audiovisual merit. The sound design is so effective and really harbours (that was an unintentional pun I swear) a looming sense of dread. Likewise, the stark cinematography, grim imagery and incessant crashing of waves creates such a cold, hostile environment. The Lighthouse contains a lot of stuff I'd usually gravitate towards, but it just failed to keep me engaged. I tend to enjoy arthouse films and usually read up on them afterwards to appreciate them even more. However, if I have to google a films contents afterwards in order to appreciate it at all, that's a huge problem. I enjoyed The VVitch but suffice to say I'll be watching Egger's Nosferatu remake with great trepidation.
Ah well, I'm glad the seagulls eventually got their Alfred Hitchcock moment.