When I was invited by my friend to see, The Lighthouse, he mentioned that it was starring Robert Pattinson, and that it was about two guys in a New England lighthouse in the 19th century. My interest was piqued as I wanted to see more movies Pattinson has starred in outside of Harry Potter as he is the new Batman and I have heard he is a great actor. Also, I have grown more and more appreciation for smaller and more character-driven movies such as Ad Astra, and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, films that have come out this year. After the movie ended, I walked out of the theater speechless as it was such a unique and incredible film.
This film is about a lighthouse keeper Thomas Wake, played by Willem Dafoe, and Ephraim Winslow, played by Robert Pattinson, who is on a contract job as a lighthouse keeper for four weeks. These two tend to the lighthouse as they try to grind through the harsh job and isolation on the small island.
Pattinson and Dafoe are mainly the only two actors starring in the movie and their performances are Oscar-worthy. Dafoe plays a surly, old sea bear with very pirate-sounding mannerisms. Dafoe’s character is brought to life with some great soliloquies and a great handle on the mindset of an older man who lived a lot of his life on the seas. As great as Dafoe’s performance is, Pattinson’s is even better. His character, unlike Dafoe’s, is all over the place emotionally and Pattinson does a tremendous job portraying may different emotions throughout the movie. He does this not only with passion in his voice but also with authentic facial expressions.
The cinematography in this movie is brilliant and unique. This entire movie is shot in black and white, and it feels like a movie that came out in the 1950s with its simplistic, yet, effective style. What this movie does a great job at is putting you in the scene as you feel like you’re there at the lighthouse and you get an idea of what being at this place is like. It’s shot with tight and medium-tight shots on the characters, which makes the characters even more personable. One issue however, is sometimes, the editing can be a little off at times as the movie is paced to be a journey, but sometimes cuts between scenes are either too abrupt or their cut in a way where it’s hard to tell how much time has passed. Also, the score creates a very unsettling atmosphere as it shows how isolated these characters are, and a lot of times in the background, you can hear the same horns buzzing which emphasizes how they are always at the same place. The sound and score put you in the scenes and creates an uncomfortable atmosphere.
The whole score and cinematography create the theme of isolation. These two characters are in a lighthouse several hundred miles offshore, and they are right in the middle of powerful storms that run rampant in the middle of the ocean. It’s a lonely and grueling place and this is really emphasized in many technical and subtle aspects of the movie, including the performances by the lead actors. The movie flows like a journey on surviving the situation they are in, and it’s easy to feel the characters who are in this situation.
I cannot recommend this movie enough. The performances are tremendous in this movie and the cinematography creates a unique and unsettling atmosphere that must be experienced. I have never seen a movie like this, and I may never forget this movie for the rest of my life. Please check it out and give this film the high praise it deserves.
26 movies down. 5 to go!