The Lighthouse

The Lighthouse ★★★★

Baffling, enveloping, and arresting, Robert Eggers’ remarkable The Lighthouse is the product of an auteur in full command of his powers and offers tons to admire: the setting, the cinematography, the dialogue, and the sheer audacity of its very existence. Nihilistic and bleak to the extreme, this visually striking and perplexing film defies expectation, conventional narrative sensibilities, and reason itself. 

Eggers’ unique vision on display here is worth a watch for this Willem Dafoe’s speech quoted below: 

“Hark Triton, hark! Bellow, bid our father the Sea King rise from the depths full foul in his fury! Black waves teeming with salt foam to smother this young mouth with pungent slime, to choke ye, engorging your organs til' ye turn blue and bloated with bilge and brine and can scream no more - only when he, crowned in cockle shells with slitherin' tentacle tail and steaming beard take up his fell be-finned arm, his coral-tine trident screeches banshee-like in the tempest and plunges right through yer gullet, bursting ye - a bulging bladder no more, but a blasted bloody film now and nothing for the harpies and the souls of dead sailors to peck and claw and feed upon only to be lapped up and swallowed by the infinite waters of the Dread Emperor himself - forgotten to any man, to any time, forgotten to any god or devil, forgotten even to the sea, for any stuff for part of Winslow, even any scantling of your soul is Winslow no more, but is now itself the sea!”

While the experience isn’t necessarily strictly enjoyable per se, I don’t regret the watch.  In fact I might venture to say it is essential viewing for a cinephile, but as the film came to a close I felt cold, detached, and alienated.

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