The Lighthouse (2019)
Directed By: Robert Eggers
Written By: Robert Eggers, Max Eggers
I am 98 percent sure that The Lighthouse is a good movie. I am 100 percent sure that I am too stupid to understand it. In his follow up to The Witch, Robert Eggers was not interested in making an easy movie to watch. In fact, there are a few things about it that suggest he was aiming for the exact opposite of that.
The film centers on two men who are living on a small island, tending to a lighthouse. That’s simple enough to grasp, then the crazy starts happening and I don’t think I was able to keep up with what was going on. The Witch was a divisive film and The Lighthouse doubles down on that. My guess is that the people who are able to follow along with what is happening are going to love it, people like me will be confused and people who don’t get it at all will hate it. For his part, Eggers seems completely fine with that.
There is nothing about the film that indicates a desire for the audience to be comfortable. It’s shot in black and white, shown in a weird aspect ratio, there are sounds coming from everywhere (the ocean, seagulls, a loud horn) and the two actors have heavy accents. The entire thing kept me on edge from the first frame. That’s not to say that there isn’t anything here to like. The Lighthouse is beautifully shot. The scenery is amazing and Eggers highlights it wonderfully in black and white. This film is made by Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson. Both actors deliver wonderfully nuanced performances as they explore the ever changing dynamic between the two characters.
The Lighthouse is a subtle horror movie. Nothing about it moves quickly. There is a lot about it that kept me off balance and a bit confused, which is exactly what the filmmakers were going for. If I had a better understanding of what was happening, I’m sure I would have enjoyed it much more but I’m also sure that it wouldn’t have been nearly as good as it is. Robert Eggers put in the work to make an intricate film and I plan to put in the work to get the most out of it, I’ll be seeing this one again. I would recommend that you watch it too, if only to see if you have a better grasp on it and can explain it to a dumb guy like me.