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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


“The Lighthouse” shines bright

Courtesy IMDb
Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson play two isolated 1890’s lighthouse keepers in “The Lighthouse” (2019).

When I first started seeing the promotional material for “The Lighthouse,” my first thought was there was no way I would ever go see that movie. So, for me to actually go see this was somewhat of a step out of my comfort zone, and boy did it pay off. 

Starring Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe, “The Lighthouse” follows two stranded lighthouse workers in 1890s New England as they slowly start to become more and more hallucinatory and, well, insane. 

What makes it so unique is the fact that it’s shot in 35 mm black and white and it’s aspect ratio is that of a square to represent the old-fashioned silent films. 

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Ephraim Winslow (Robert Pattinson) and Thomas Wake (Willem Dafoe) are two lighthouse keepers in the hypnotic black-and-white period film "The Lighthouse" (2019).
Ephraim Winslow (Robert Pattinson) and Thomas Wake (Willem Dafoe) are two lighthouse keepers in the hypnotic black-and-white period film “The Lighthouse” (2019).

Driven by two wonderful performances, the balance of humor and horror is impeccable, which is also a testament to writer and director Robert Eggers’ script. Though not particularly scary, this film got under my skin in a different way. Submerging the viewer into the lighthouse with Dafoe and Pattinson, feeling just as claustrophobic and trapped as they do. 

From skipping around the dining room singing sea shanties to yelling at each other about their farts, this film is most certainly strange, but it’s a level of strange that is just enough to keep you guessing and never know what exactly either character is all about. 

Dafoe as Thomas Wake was the big standout to me. Despite a somewhat hard-to-understand pirate accent at times, his character was mesmerizing. Every time he was on the screen, my attention immediately turned to him. 

Pattinson continued to prove why he is one of the best up and coming actors in the business. His character Ephraim Winslow, had a naive nature to him at the start, and his complete 180 by the end of it is remarkable. Pattinson delivered in every aspect. 

Now, this might be weirder than when I compare “El Camino” to “Toy Story 4,” but the relationship reminded me a lot of the relationship between Mr. Krabs and Squidward from “SpongeBob SquarePants,” the over zealous boss and the reluctant worker. 

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Robert Pattinson plays the role of Ephraim Winslow in "The Lighthouse" (2019).
Robert Pattinson plays the role of Ephraim Winslow in “The Lighthouse” (2019).

What might’ve made this even better for me is the fact that I went in without much knowledge on what to expect. I assume that is the best way to see this film, so I am trying to keep as much quiet about this as I can. The utter mystery of what is actually going on in the lighthouse is enthralling and it is a trip worth going on for anyone who loves film. 

Being a strange and claustrophobic masterpiece, the framing of the film and the fact that it’s black and white didn’t bother me at all, even though that almost kept me from seeing it in the first place. Dafoe and Pattinson are sensational, both fitting their roles so perfectly. “The Lighthouse” is now right up there with “The Art of Self Defense” as one of the most surprising films of the year. Definitely go see it if it’s playing near you. 

I give “The Lighthouse” an A. 

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