The Lighthouse

The Lighthouse ★★★★½

This time, the hype was right. Robert Eggers has a serious chance to one day becoming my favorite filmmaker or very close to it, if he keeps this streak up.

The Lighthouse is a film where clearly every tiny element was considered, and every single decision was made to enhance the overall project. The frame is small and boxy to add to the claustrophobia. The use of black and white and overall grainy look are all deliberately chosen to create the uniquely oppressive tone. This movie feels like what black metal album covers want to convey. Thinking back on the movie it's dark and hazy. It's confusing, violent, and ugly. Sometimes it's even funny, but these are just quick breaks from the weight of the downbeat atmosphere.

Two men go crazy, I think. Maybe two men were already crazy. Maybe one man makes another man go crazy. The Lighthouse immerses us so deeply that the sudden moments of unreality come as real shocks. Is it gaslighting, the supernatural, or an unreliable narrator? I have a personal guess, but it doesn't matter. The way that any or all of this could be valid yet the film never feels annoyingly vague or aloof is what matters.

Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe completely vanish, replaced by these two terrible dirty men. The startling madness and meanness to both of them is just incredible work. The gorgeously shot shack of a lighthouse they inhabit begins to feel more like an endless labyrinth. The sound design deserves attention too -- especially near the end, it takes such risks and makes for an overwhelming watch at times. Even the editing itself is so focused on turning this movie into an impenetrable dream of hate, sex, and repression. And then there are fart jokes and ancient curses over dinner arguments. There might truly be nothing else like The Lighthouse in existence.

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