the_ruck’s review published on Letterboxd:
After Robert Eggers has already proven his skills with The Witch, he now wants to prove this again and well, what can be said other than that he has succeeded again.
While I initially had concerns about The Witch because I didn't particularly like the basic topic, I was immediately attentive of The Lighthouse. Even if this film with the 4:5 format and the black and white images is undoubtedly not very easily accessible. I can also understand everyone, who is deterred at first, but of course there is a tribute to the films of the silent film era behind it.
Well, but anyway, The Lighthouse is just like the previous film by Robert Eggers, this film is incredibly captivating and engaging. Because this film also deals with decay into the abyss and chaos. But due to the fact that The Lighthouse is also a chamber play, the entire scenario looks even more intense and engaging. Which is only more narrowed by the square image formats and is amplified even more. But this 4:5 format had also caused some difficulties during production. For example, an extra small table had to be made so that Robtert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe can both be seen in the picture. Even original camera lenses from the thirties were found, some of which were used during the shooting.
In addition, in the course of the film, the distinction between reality and delusion becomes more and more fluid. So that this unreliable storytelling constantly plays with the expectations of the viewer. So in the course of the film, not only the characters sink into chaos but also the viewer in a way.
As with The Witch, a gloomy and engaging atmosphere is created, which Robert Eggers of course masters perfectly again. Just like Egger's debut film, this creates an incredibly poignant story that is further reinforced by the dense staging, the gloomy atmosphere and the play between reality and delusion, as well as staging with the special image format and the pictures in black and white.
Of course, a Robert Egger's film also includes the historical accuracy, which of course also comes to light again in this film. In this film, however, Robert Eggers has rather taken a look at narrative patterns by H.P. Lovecraft, Hermann Melville or Robert Louis Stevenson. In addition, of course, you can also see how much work has been put into it from the dialogues and the lighthouse slang, so to speak. Because the dialogues were made from historical texts from the 19th century from logbooks by lighthouse keepers.
However it can also be clearly seen in the soundtrack, because it consists of the waves of the sea that hit the lighthouse or, for example, of the screeching of the seagulls.
You probably don't have to say much about the actors, but you just have to mention the two main actors when talking about this movie. Because as in The Witch, the actors are really challenged in their roles. Willem Dafoe once again proves his skills and is simply fantastic in his role. He plays such a disgusting character that you can somehow only hate, but somehow it is still fascinating to watch him constantly burp, fart and maltreat Robert Pattinson. And Robert Pattinson is also absolutely outstanding in his role and anyone who still sees him as the boy from Twilight should take a look at The Lighthouse. In addition the two main characters are often filmed in close-ups, which then further enhances the atmosphere and tension.
Well, the film is undoubtedly not very easily accessible, but if you can resign yourself to it, you can enjoy a really captivating and rousing film with an intense staging, an engaging atmosphere and an outstanding acting by Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe, which is only reinforced by historical accuracy and thus represents an outstanding horror chamber play.