A Hollywood menace in The Lighthouse


Photo courtesy of Vox.com.

Ana Costanzo, Staff Writer

By Ana Costanzo

Seamen ballads, paranoid mania, carnal desperation, and antagonistic gulls entrench Robert Egger’s film The Lighthouse (2019). Spiraling around the abhorrent lighthouse, Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe battle each other provocatively as the isolationists shed lies. And if the dismal setting doesn’t set a bleak picture, the secrets undoubtedly will. 

This is no ode to the sea, the ocean waves rebellious and tumultuous, foreboding the future for these dismal men. The birds, too, represent harbingers, their shrieking a warning to Pattinson’s character of sinister lurking on this here rock. 

Prior to The Lighthouse, Eggers directed and wrote The Witch (2015), his first historical horror film involving paranoia and satanism. One is apt to see the comparisons between his two features, but Dafoe and Robertson alight the former into what otherwise could have been a lifeless mechanical scream. Alas, it is not dull nor cumbersome. On the contrary, it’s quite the spectacle. 

Persuading the lighthouse to treat them cruelly, Pattinson and Dafoe figuratively nail themselves to this holy temple to capture characters’ delirium. These two men convey phantoms, desperation of unspeakable kind—for one, it’s all in the name of a coin, for the latter, it’s all in the name of—you’ll soon come to find. 

This film is a novelty, a horror film for the mind instead of the pleasureless eyes. It is one to invoke emotion and question human capability in the midst of temptation. It’s pure yet scarlet-stained, vivacious yet colourless, civilized yet animalistic. The Lighthouse is anything you’d come to expect from an arthouse film donned with miraculous indie actors who may have just found their pathway to Hollywood gold. 

All in the name of Eggers.