Originality not only survives, but thrives…
Writer/Director Robert Eggers returns with a delicious little slice of the creepy, the absurd and the downright bent with The Lighthouse.
We’re dropped on a remote and mysterious New England island in the 1890s where two lighthouse keepers slowly go down the rabbit hole of mystery and madness with nowhere to run.
Shot on 35mm, in full frame and in Black & White; The Lighthouse is a delightfully creepy trip down into the depths of the human psyche when isolationism takes hold and you just can’t see around the corners of your own mind.
Eggers puts together a yarn that won’t only creep you out but keep you guessing, just not know what is actually happening and what is existing in the mind of Ephraim (Robert Pattinson). As he duels with his senior Thomas (Willem Dafoe) we see both men essentially become a mirror image of the other, which is what really makes this all a master class in casting.
It’s exceptionally well directed as Eggers is incredibly conscience of the framing in everyone of his shots as we don’t get a wasted moment even inside the black of the 1:19 Aspect Ratio that he shot the film in. It’s stylishly deliberate and more than a little haunting no matter the size of the screen you watch it all on.
With some stunning cinematography and the forced perspective of the story thanks to Jarin Blaschke we get lured into the deep waters of psychosis with some ethereal imagery giving it all an out of world experience that will leave your legs wobbly like you just got out of a pitching sea vessel in the middle of nowhere.
Both Pattinson and Dafoe give masterful performances and successfully rope us into the isolation of the setting. Even in Black and White the sense of dank desperation permeates the screen at all times. Pattinson plays it fairly straight while Dafoe gleefully chews every piece of scenery that he can possible find. Its two men in each other’s psychological grip while teetering on the edge of madness with nothing to do other then see to their duties. This kind of project is simply an actor’s dream and both men committed to it with a fervor not often seen on screen.
Picture and sound quality is top notch as you’d expect as the Black & White photography provides for a real contrast to what we are used to. The special features include a 38 minute in-depth look at the production in The Lighthouse: A Dark & Stormy Tale, a feature length audio commentary with director Robert Eggers, a short making of, three short featurettes and about 5 minutes of deleted scenes.
The Lighthouse is damn near the stylish minimalist epitome of perfection and ultimate bang for the movie going buck that challenges and entertains all at the same time. Not many people will have a film this truly bent on their Blu-Ray shelves but it’s one that unequivocally deserves to be there.