Robert Egger’s is quickly proving himself to be one of the best slow-burn storytellers of our time. The Lighthouse, Eggers’ second film just after The Witch, stars Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson in spellbinding performances, in a tale of cabin fever, the likes of which I have never seen before.
On the surface, The Lighthouse is a film about two Wickies, and their month long stay taking care of a lighthouse. But, look deeper (not much deeper, honestly), and you see a film about madness and secrets. Egger is fantastic at telling captivating stories while using the bare minimum. In this film, all we are presented with are two characters (three if you count the lighthouse, which you should). The dialogue between the two is beautifully written. I could probably listen to Dafoe monologue all day in this film. The film is shot in black and white, with Egger’s using any old equipment that he could in order to give the film an aged look.
The way Eggers’ expresses thoughts and feelings visually never ceases to amaze me. The Lighthouse begins visually simple. There’s a lot of medium and establishing shots with some close-ups here and there. But, as the film goes on and our characters begin to slip mentally, the camera begins to become distorted in its angles, attempting to make the audience as disoriented as the characters. And it works.
Much like when I watched The Witch, The Lighthouse had me feeling tense for nearly the entire film. I couldn’t place why at first; maybe it was the tone of the film, maybe it was the music. Maybe it was the fact that I knew that something sinister was lurking at the end.
In the end, I liked the film very much. I would not say that it’s enjoyable, and once you watch it, you’ll see why. But, it is a triumph as Robert Eggers’ sophomore film.