In the late 1800s in New England, Ephraim Winslow (Robert Pattinson, The Lost City of Z) arrives at a remote island for a month-long stint working with a crotchety but far more experienced lighthouse keeper Thomas Wake (Willem Dafoe, Platoon). The two have . . . personality conflicts, to put it mildly, but once a massive storm traps them on the island, Winslow and Wake go a little stir-crazy. Complications ensue.
Director and co-writer Robert Eggers generated a lot of buzz for his acclaimed horror film The Witch a few years ago, and The Lighthouse, appropriately, also generated universal acclaim. I really enjoyed The Lighthouse, though I freely admit it was an odd movie, not for the easily squeamish or easily weirded out.
At its heart, The Lighthouse is a highly claustrophobic psychological thriller, with a very limited number of characters and a single setting, and the movie’s old-timey 35 mm black-and-white film only adds to the claustrophobic atmosphere of dread.
Beyond the movie’s stunningly eerie cinematography (which is impressive), the real draw is the acting. Pattinson has come a long way from his days as the token heartthrob in the Twilight movies, and he and Dafoe (who is almost unrecognizable in this movie) both provide unnervingly effective performances in The Lighthouse as grudging coworkers with a job that is, quite often, boring drudgework before things all go downhill from there.
I don’t really want to comment too much on the plot because part of the fun of the movie (at least for me) was not knowing too much of what was about to unfold. I’ll just say that what follows alternates between being bizarrely funny and deeply disturbing, and if you’ve ever thought you wanted to escape to a remote lighthouse, you might rethink that after you watch this movie.
Did you like The Lighthouse? What’s your favorite eerie psychological thriller? Do you want to live in a lighthouse? Tell us in the comments! As always, please follow this link to our online library catalog for more information or to place the movie on hold.