Directed and co-written by Robert Eggers, The Lighthouse is dark and not just in its overall color tone. The period psychological thriller is skillfully crafted in grainy black and white to give a unique theater experience.
The movie revolves around a retired timberman Ephraim Winslow, who is on a contract job as a ‘wickie’ for four weeks on an isolated island with a gassy elderly man named Thomas Wake. For Winslow, Wake appears to be a strange and superstitious fellow, going up to the top of the lighthouse at night and stripping nude.
As days pass by, Winslow’s chores increase and he is constantly attacked by a seagull. He eventually kills the bird, even though Wake warned him that it would bring bad luck. From there, Wake becomes paranoid that a storm is destined to attack the island and this causes his psychological descent into insanity. His hallucinations and the terrors caused by it are the real spooks of the movie.
The enthralling performances of Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe are enough to immerse you into the disturbing environment of the narrative. Their performance deserves universal acclaim and is worthy of contending any acting award out there. However, the intensity they had build-up was wasted in a bizarre and somewhat predictable climax.
The movie doesn’t belong in the typical horror movie genre. Yes, there are some dark, horrifying elements present in it. But, The Lighthouse stands much closer to the reality-inversion of psychodrama character studies like Repulsion. In fact, just spending 110 minutes is enough for even us to doubt our sanity.
However, the movie will undoubtfully be marked as Pattinson’s complete transformation into a captivating character actor, which he had already initiated in features like High Life.
In short, The Lighthouse is raw, powerful, and brilliantly cinematic. The mastery of the character’s journey is truly appreciable. Robert Eggers has done a brilliant job in giving his lead actors the platform to show their remarkable talent.
If you are ready to witness some true movie magic, go for this one without any hesitation. The movie may be in black and white, but the art of it is vibrantly colorful.