nolan of palo alto’s review published on Letterboxd:
Saw this at its official world premiere with the lads Robert Eggers, Robert Pattinson, and Willem Dafoe in attendance!! I know that I have a lot of other Cannes reviews to catch up on, but I feel as though I need to prioritize this one the most, since many of you all may have been anticipating this film as much as I have.
Hands down the best new film that I've seen at Cannes on my trip easily, and I am of course not surprised at all. If you enjoyed THE VVITCH, then you should be very intrigued by Eggers' second feature. From the very first frame all the way to the very last, there is this unsettling tension and atmosphere that provides for so many jaw-dropping sequences. There are many of those in this film and specific images along with specific sounds that will not leave your headspace. Also, the dynamics between Pattinson and Dafoe range from hilarious and frustrating. Their relationship builds to a point of cinematic insanity and I'll leave it at that.
Eggers decided to shoot this film in an almost 1 by 1 aspect ratio on 35 mm and it absolutely pays off since it closes us into this daunting and claustrophobic space while also providing another level to the gritty and rusty/dusty (as Eggers put it) world of THE LIGHTHOUSE. "The bar is accuracy" Eggers also stated and each frame proves how high that bar really is and just how successful Eggers is as well. These visual choices along with brilliant sound design/score involving roaring foghorn noises easily make it one of the most technically astounding films of the year so far.
There's little I can actually say since I don't want to spoil anything and there's little I actually understood. Lastly, it should be stated that these performances are amazing and are both career-defining for Pattison and Dafoe, making Eggers' high standards on set extremely worth it. The atmosphere, the period accuracy, the performances, the Melville influence, the abstractions, the mystery... they all make this film a destined classic.
Really looking forward to the wide release of this so I can discuss it with you lads. I'm not sure why this film is out of competition because it would easily have a chance at winning here. Cannes has been a crazy time and I promise that I will catch up on all of my reviews very soon!