The Lighthouse is directed by Robert Eggers and stars Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe and takes place on a remote island in the 1890s. As I sit here trying to gather my thoughts on the film, I am struggling to find words to describe the experience I had when watching this film. The Lighthouse follows the two leads as they descend into utter madness. There is so much tension and dread projected between the two actors. Their chemistry was impeccable. The tension between them drives the film. Despite there only being two people on screen the entire film, it was never boring. In fact, it was one of the most engrossing films this year.
This is Robert Pattinson’s best performance he has ever done. At first, he is a quiet man, keeps to himself, but is forced to come out of his shell by Dafoe. We watch as Pattinson slips away into complete insanity. He goes through every human emotion imaginable in this role. From utter despair to joyous wonder and everything in between. Willem Dafoe is equally as great. He would often ramble on with lengthy monologues about nothing essentially, but he would do it in the largest way possible. The Lighthouse is a horror film, but it is also hilarious. Director Robert Eggers is not above a fart joke. This film knows when to add levity and knows when to keep us in dread. The humor is placed perfectly and only adds to the building tension and dream-like feel of the film. The performances clash consistently and that is a good thing. The whole film is about these two not getting along and the tension built between them. Once we start witnessing Pattinson lose his mind, we are forced to ask ourselves what is real and what is just a hallucination or dream/vision. The film constantly plays with the characters’ state of mind and their feelings towards each other. One moment they’ll be dancing with each other about to kiss and the next they’ll be in a full out fistfight. We don’t know who to trust.
I’m keeping this review short and sweet as I’m not sure how else to describe this film other than the best film I’ve seen this year. The Lighthouse is hilarious, but it genuinely had me scared and tense the entire film. The sound design and score are haunting. From the loud horns of the lighthouse to the chilling score, The Lighthouse has a way to suck you right into the film. The aspect ratio, the camera’s and lenses used, and the incredible set and costume design all are done so well, this feels like a film from the early 1900s. The Lighthouse is expertly directed and is not pretentious at all, populated by stunning performances (the best you will see so far this year), and an ambiguous ending that will conjure debate among film fans for years to come. This mythological, fantasy, horror-comedy is the best movie this year. You need to see it.