The Lighthouse

The Lighthouse ★★★★½

Listening to the score as I write about this alone in a dark room at 2:30 in the morning.

It’s been several hours since I’ve seen The Lighthouse but it has left a transcendental phenomenon upon my mere mortal brain. Yes, it is the movie that hipsters will co-opt as the best thing ever made, it ain’t that but damn it if it isn't close. From the word go you’re cast into a blindingly stark black and white world where the ocean rules and men are objects of nature, as both men exist in the lighthouse so does the power of light and within that power of light lies in the temptation of madness. When Dafoe and Pattinson step in front of the camera, you see both men have something within their eyes that has their stories buried underneath a facade of two men looking to upkeep a lighthouse. Dafoe’s face has the grizzled look of a sailor who has spent so much time out at sea that he can’t seem to function with other people anymore, as the only noise that matters to his ears is that of the foghorn and the crashing sounds of waves hitting sharp unflinching trenchant rocks that fortify an island meant for capturing lost souls. Pattinson matches Dafoe’s striking screen presence as someone who likes to hide, a man whose tongue seems to have shriveled up as his only bastion of sanity lies within some formless idea of the future never meant for him. With both players put onto the chess board are to bear witness to what lies ahead, you know it will not be good; you know that deep down inside something is wrong - something bad will happen and you are helpless to stop it.

This is the film that will be posted on every film Twitter account ever. These shots are beautiful despite what it captures inside the tell-all frame. It motivates the story every action captured within its beauty lies a doubtlessly deceitful tale of what happens when isolation and the wailing noise of the sea are the only things to keep your company - that and a pesky seagull that seems to have it out for you and a captain that farts constantly. Take away the audio and what does the movie become? The story still tells the same narrative it captures something done within the silent era of storytelling by the likes of F. W. Murnau with grotesque sequences of hysteria. The Lighthouse looks the way it does because it has to there is no other way it can exist in its form. The tight framing instills congestion as it squeezes everything into its desolate bleak dreary and at times humorous ecumenical existence.

This is the movie that actors can only wish of having. Everything you want out on display is there. It takes a dash of fearlessness to convey these scenes as it may become too much. You have the entire movie on your shoulders as you spin the story of lighthouse keepers being out on an island hating one another. Pattinson and Dafoe do not falter under these circumstances in fact they exceed any expectations. Dedication is plastered all over their performances cascading through every line uttered and every stare into an oceanic void. Not only do they enhance such a visual spectacle but the movie would not exist if not for them, they are much the organs of the film as the director is. Dafoe being the shinning light in the fog but Pattinson not long behind him either as both men fight and tell jokes in the same night. They have chemistry that bottle films need in order to be everlasting, and what happens in The Lighthouse is nothing short of marvelous.

The Lighthouse is a film people must seek for the mere nature of its creativity and ingenuity because these type of films make something special of the moviegoing experience. It must be seen on a screen bigger than what can be bought in a store.

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