Evan DePasquale’s review published on Letterboxd:
Alright, after not watching pretty much anything new for a week, I made sure to go out and see Robert Eggers new film (and tomorrow I am going for some Taika) and I was not disappointed. I have been trying to go into some of these more "obscure" films without seeing trailers or anything (except for that spoiler headline that A24 actually retweeted smh) and I am glad I didn't with this one.
This film is absolute madness. Like it is slow in some parts and I was expecting that having seen Egger's earlier film The VVitch. But the slow pace of this one really helps build that tension and sense of madness that comes along with the isolated setting and hopeless scenario. Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe are amazing in this and work really well with each other. You kind of have some expectations of how their characters should act towards one another, but in this film they have such a complex relationship with one another.
On the technical side, this film is also fantastic. The aspect ratio, grain, and use of black and white cinematography really adds so much. Sometimes these aspects are used as a gimmick, but in this film I can't imagine it being shot any other way. The time period and atmosphere just lend themselves perfectly to these aspects.
There are only two things that hold this film back from being a 5/5 for me. The biggest issue which many have pointed out is that it is sometimes extremely hard to hear what the characters are saying at times. I didn't have a huge problem with it, but if you are in a theater with more background noise or a theater that doesn't have great audio this could really impact your experience. The other slight negative I have is that there are some surface level interpretations of certain elements of the story, but there really isn't much to interpret rather than to just sit back and watch the madness unfold. I could be wrong and there is some huge mind blowing theory about it all out there, but honestly I don't think I need it to enjoy this film.
Overall, go see this immediately. There is a lot left to see this year, but as of right now this is my favorite of 2019.
Side note: I recently reached 400 followers I realized and that is crazy to me considering my sporadic review quality and my average film per week being around 1. Anyway I got a lot of reviews coming in the next couple of days after this break, but I am grateful to all of you that take the time to read my stuff. So thanks