The Lighthouse

The Lighthouse ★★★★

Booming blasts from the foghorn pound like persistent hangovers. Waves crash relentlessly into the sharp rocks of a lonely island with foam of piss and shit and sweat spreading everywhere – all the while, a looming lighthouse intermittently illuminates the ragged, hardened keepers. Black to white, shadow to light.

The captain of this stationary ship is the shabby Dafoe whose reign is strict and stormy, bringing down thunder upon the cloistered Pattinson for the slightest drop of disobedience. A rotten seed has been planted in the mind of the young lumberjack-turned-wickie. A seed sustained by alcohol and isolation and in the shape of a forewarning that the last subordinate of the captain went mad; like a parallel Jack Torrance-story had he been trapped in The Overlook with a much-heavier drinker.

Faulty decisions, led on by incomparable cabin fever, spiral the two keepers down an ever- enclosing staircase of foggy insanity. In the mist, they are unable to see one another, but even more grueling, they can't escape losing sight of themselves. Who are they? How long have they been boozing away on that rotten, god-forsaken island? The alcohol consumed blurs the line between reality and unstable mentality alongside heavy doses of ominous sailorman tales, and from then on out the ride is intoxicatingly engaging with astonishing monologues and mind-bogglingly intense scenes.

The claustrophobia brought forth by the grizzly black-and-white cinematography is only one part of the excellent craftsmanship behind Egger’s The Lighthouse; the vibrating score and haunting editing help bury this drunken nightmare deep in your brain, but Dafoe and Pattinson ensure its constant recurrence.

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