The Lighthouse is... a movie.
Surely this film is an experience whether it's your glass of gin or not. Robert Eggers has yet to give me something to marvel over. The VVitch bored me to death. And while this movie is arguably even more boring, I favor this more for its consistency in pacing. This guy really likes fart jokes, which is fine because somehow they all worked, but it definitely didn't match the uneasiness of the dramatics. I heard that first fart and was highly confused. It's no doubt that Eggers can time comedic moments just right and I wish this was more of a dark comedy. There's some really funny moments, but not enough to make the film seem leveled out with the "thrilling" side. That side also works, but with a skewed combination, the direction as a whole seems off to me.
The Lighthouse is a tale of two lighthouse keepers in the 1890s and their slow descent into madness. I wish I could say more, but that's literally all it is. It's a supercut of every experimental film I watched in film school. There are some great visuals that make you assume they have something to do with the overall story when they sadly don't, and that's the main issue I have with this film. There is no substance to this story other than flatulence.
ACTING | CHARACTERS | DIALOGUE:
The performances alone are what may actually drive me to watch this film again. The thing about The Lighthouse is that its a character study even though it feels like it's actively trying to tell you it's not. With that being said, I am fully convinced I watched Willem Dafoe in real time, not acting. This is how he actually is in his everyday life and you can't tell me otherwise. Robert Pattinson is completely savage in this role, and I hated seeing his character suffer. Oscar season better treat them both kindly or I will riot.
VISUAL EFFECTS | MAKEUP | DESIGN:
MUSIC | SCORE | SOUND DESIGN:
The sound design really works when I wanted it to. Other than that, it's a colossal mess. It's definitely supposed to represent his brain starting to turn and hear things, which would be interesting if it wasn't so annoying. The sharp violin scraping at moments we are supposed to be afraid of a bird seem pretty pointless to me. It happens more than once. The sporadic patterns of the lighthouse horn were draining for me. It did its job by making you go insane, but it was nauseating at the same time.
If you told me the film was made of cinematography shits and giggles, I wouldn't argue with you. Anyone who enjoys pretty camera work will surely appreciate this film. It is beautiful and at times unnerving. The framing is simple, yet eerie. The tracking shots and angles make for an anxious environment. The production design and setting took my breath away and really went hand in hand with the camera. There are some really cool sea-related things I liked the look of that I don't want to spoil, as it is the only excitement of the film.
Before anyone jumps down my throat that I didn't "get it,” I did. I fully expected this to be a modern made fever dream disguised as a film from the 20 based on the trailer. And that's mostly what I got. Many people will watch this and find it enjoyable, and I understand why. I can't help but appreciate it for what it is. I just wish there was something deeper to the story, other than them just going crazy, like another story layer or some lore. It's definitely a film to take advantage of watching in dark and gloomy fall weather.