offmiles’s review published on Letterboxd:
Robert Eggers creates to film unlike any other, a film with a disturbing atmosphere that swallows you whole, presenting layers upon layers of conceptual imagery and ideas that all combined into one absolutely polarizing piece of art.
There's so much meaning and so many thoughts packed into this, that lead to many routes of interpretation. However the purgatory explication has always stuck out to me as the one that fits perfectly to the story of The Lighthouse.
The hellish Island Old and Young call home for an unknown amount of time is purgatory it's self. Young has come to be tried for his previous sins. Old is the, definitely not angel, but rather authority sent to judge. The restricted light, thats only opened to Old, is the physical representation of heaven. Young has not yet been fully examined therefore, only Old is able to enjoy the benefits of the light. Young becomes increasingly obsessed with the light and eventually kills his superior to get to it. In the penultimate scene we see an unworthy man at the gates of heaven rejected and thrown to his punishment. In the final shot we see Young endures the Prometheus damnation. Prometheus is the Greek god who stole the internal flame, and was reprimanded by having birds eat out his organs every day for eternity. From the looks of it Young is given the same torture.
Along with that, two other major themes are sexuality and the chain of command, mainly how they work together. Young and Old act as a bickering married couple fighting over chores and if yer fond me lobster. Scenes of brawling turn to tenderness, then back to fighting all in the blink of an eye. Young has obvious problems with authority as he has visions of the severed head of a Forman he killed. Visions of mermaids to lust after are also reoccurring for him.
From a technical standpoint The Lighthouse packs a punch everywhere. Boasting out of this world performances from Dafoe and Pattinson, who both not only display career bests but career defining acting. In addition the beautifully grim black n white cinematography gives us shadows and contrast that could only come from perfect execution. All while traumatizing sirens in the background destroy any comfort you had left.
The Lighthouse is crafted with substance and haunting elegance, as it takes the story of two men stranded on an island and twists it to a wicked and metaphorical tail I can't stop thinking about. Robert Eggers proves he's one to watch, due to his brand of storytelling and filmmaking that is unique, captivating, and sinister!