vicky’s review published on Letterboxd:
THIS IS A FRICKIN’ MASTERPIECE.
I think what makes this film all the more hallucinatory and claustrophobic is that it’s shot on 35mm black and white film with a 1.19:1 aspect ratio, almost as if limiting everything in a box, which is quite ironic in a sense that the characters seem to also be in. It’s a baffling tale of two lighthouse keepers portrayed by the amazing Dafoe and Pattinson in surprisingly committed performances which really amped in creating an eerie and mysterious atmosphere. On that note, despite the lack of a musical score that will help in setting the mood of mystification, the constant blasting of the foghorn, the squawking of seagulls, the looming figure of the lighthouse, and the storming sea rightfully did it’s justice.
Another thing I really took great pleasure in is that other than that it drawing references from literary and mythological sources (Proteus and Prometheus), allusions from ancient ocean legends, fabled curses producing ambiguity and all sorts of metaphorical deep-dives, is that it also uncovered on a multitude of subjects — the search for existential roots, the power dynamics between the superior and subordinate, toxic masculinity, dominant and submissive strategies, and sexuality and homoeroticism — all the while with just a few pieces of dialogue being thrown here and there. Now if that makes you question the virtuoso mind of Robert Eggers then I don’t know what is. This film definitely has all my respect for going beyond what is often incapable in the limited freedom one has, and that in itself makes it unquestionably one of the finest films to close the decade.
(added in my ranked list of the best films of 2019!) ✨