Ragnar’s review published on Letterboxd:
Grade: GOOD (3.5 out of 5)
Expect the unexpected when Robert Eggers is directing a movie. The Lighthouse is a technical masterwork. The beautiful black and white cinematography framed with a retro aspect ratio combine to create a completely engaging and totally unsettling (in a good way) experience.
Robert Pattinson continues his “sorry about Twilight” tour (he isn’t that sorry, but he is rich) with yet another great performance. But it is Willem Dafoe that steals the show in one of the greatest performances of his career.
Eggers does not hold the viewer’s hand; instead, he throws us on that damn rock and yells “figure it out!” A trait of a great artist.
What starts as a fairly straightforward narrative slowly unravels into a purposefully complex mess as our characters lose their grip on sanity. Both character and narrative no longer can be trusted, sending the viewer into a tailspin.
So why not a higher score for a well acted and excellently crafted film? Well, even though I love what Eggers does with the narrative of The Lighthouse, I was only able to have an intellectual connection, not an emotional connection to the film. Without that emotional connection, the film felt a bit hollow and long winded. Although, I think a second viewing is in order.
Let me be clear, I want The Lighthouse to make a ton of money and earn world wide appreciation, even if I didn’t love it. The cinematic landscape is considerably enhanced by films like The Lighthouse. Great art pushes boundaries.
Don’t take my word for it, ask Bergman.
P.S. If you liked The Lighthouse, then the obvious recommendation is Persona.