The Lighthouse

Robert Eggers’ latest film is a swirling descent into madness that takes the breath away.

"You can almost taste the salt on your lips in the new psychological horror from Robert Eggers (‘The Witch’) that will leave even the sturdiest of sea legs shaking. It’s a two-handed chamber piece about a pair of lighthouse keepers living on a remote island off the New England coast at the turn of the 20th century and it’s lit up by mesmerising performances from Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe.

"Dafoe is Tom Wake, an old sea dog with a clay pipe jutting from his thick beard and the chief ‘wickie’ of the lighthouse. He’s an amalgam of salty clichés and loves gin, sea shanties, and cooking lobster. Pattinson plays ex-logger Ephraim Winslow, recently arrived from Canada. He’s the strong and silent type who seems to have a skeleton or two in his closet.

"Both are men’s men – the quarrelsome, petty, tobacco-chomping variety. Dafoe and Pattinson deliver Max and Robert Eggers’ script with incredible pathos, sounding like characters who have slipped from the pages of Melville’s ‘Moby Dick’. The dialogue is packed with insults and they lash like a hailstorm.

"Meanwhile, life on the island isn’t going well. Wake barks orders constantly, putting down Winslow at every opportunity. To find relief, Winslow heads to the outside store-shed, a small sculpture of a buxom mermaid in one hand. Soon things start to take a bizarre turn. What comes next, set to a mind-spinning score almost defies belief.

"The desolate, lonely environment of the island is captured beautifully. There’s a vintage horror feel, both embracing conventions of the genre and defying them. Sometimes you’ll wonder if you’re watching a horror film at all. ‘The Lighthouse’ leaves you dazed, terrified and elated, and it signals Eggers as one of the most exciting directors working today." - Time Out


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