Rafael Félix’s review published on Letterboxd:
Remember that feeling we had as kids on Christmas Eve? That childish anticipation for midnight and the arrival of Fat Men in a Red Suit with a bag full of junk that we were no longer going to use two days later, but made that moment to unwrap, the absolute best?
That’s me towards The Lighthouse.
Simple stuff. A lighthouse keeper (Willem Dafoe) and his assistant (Robert Pattinson) will take over a lighthouse lost at sea for 4 weeks. But when loneliness begins to settle, and the minds get thinner, these two characters will enter a spiral of endless madness that will undress them from all the humanity they possess.
One of the compliments to give The VVitch was attention to detail and the capture of the time period, and the same can be said here. Were it for the subtitles, the dialect of the characters, especially Dafoe’s, would be almost impossible to fully capture and it is these little great things that enrich this type of film. The world is palpable, it is dirty and wet; its primitive.
And it is in this world that inhabits an abysmal presence of this Lighthouse. From this world of light from a lantern that guides the lost away from a destination equal to that of their guardians. Mark Korven's music is guttural and glaring to involve all this luminous mystique, as if it were varnish to finish a lurid painting. This Lighthouse is the main character of the film, and is noisier, and more sinister than its handlers.
There is a Lynchian surrealism that takes over the film in the best possible way. Time here has no place, seconds seem like weeks, and weeks pass in seconds on this piece of Earth. The confusion settles, who is who is an unanswered question,what is real and what is dream all blend in this 1.19:1 black and white screen, that with each frame it offers, it looks like it is forming a square of macabre beauty. It goes from drunken joy to unmeasured anger only in a cut and what was human in these characters brought to life in the best performances of Dafoe and Pattinson's career, quickly disappears, leaving only the primitivity of the being that ends up bringing an almost juvenile kind of humor.
At one point in the film, Dafoe says "He believed there was some enchantment in the light". What this "light" is, it will depend on each one, and I will not be here discussing theories, because that is not what this is about, but it seems to me that it will be the first question that everyone will make after the film, and it also seems to me that it is not the right issue to do. It's like the content of Marcellus Wallace's suitcase in Pulp Fiction (1994). It's not what's in there that matters so much, it's what it causes those who are surrounded by it.
The Lighthouse proves, without a doubt, that Robert Eggers is one of the most interesting, original and talented voices working in the cinema today. Days have passed and I still have vivid images in my memory that will last for weeks, and again I can say that this is the work of a master. A totally unique experience I want to repeat over and over again.