The Lighthouse (15)

The Lighthouse (15)

Directed by Robert Eggers
Picturehouse, Liverpool
From 31st January 2020

Reviewed by Colin Serjent

The claustrophobic effect is compelling in this film, made in black & white.

Although there are a number of outdoor shots on the very small island set in New England on which the lighthouse is based, the scenes inside the cramped building are extreme in an almost theatrical way, especially the dialogue between the two lighthouse keepers, Thomas Wake (Willem Dafoe) and Ephraim Winslow (Robert Pattinson), with both expressing strong views to one another.

Set in the 1890s, Winslow arrived at the Lighthouse where Wake is standing watch and is assigned a four week stint doing endless tedious work under the strict guidance of the much older partner.

The haunting sound effects, such as the almost constant noise of foghorns, ferociously strong wind and rain, together with the loud squawking of large seagulls, adds to the allure of the film, ably assisted by the cinematography of Jarin Blaschke.

Apparently, not having read the book, director Robert Eggers used dialogue which has been, what is termed repurposed, from the book Moby Dick.

As with sea-faring books published at the time the movie was set, it included the appearance of sea monsters and a mermaid.

The Lighthouse is puzzling at times in its depiction of two characters slowly losing their minds. But this adds to the enigmatic nature of it.

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