I almost opted out of watching Robert Eggers’ The Lighthouse after a friend reported that it’s just “ a film about two weird guys”. However, I decided against following her words and went into the film, determined to form my own opinion. It was glorious.
Don’t get me wrong, The Lighthouse is definitely a film about two weird men. But it’s simultaneously much more than that.
The Lighthouse is the best film I’ve seen in 2019 with its Oscars worthy performances, stunning cinematography, and precise dialogue. It centers around two lightkeepers, the young Ephram Winslow, played by Robert Pattison, and the elder Thomas Wake who is played by Willem Dafoe. The two are in conflict with each other as Winslow is instructed to take on more burdensome tasks as the film moves on. While these tasks seem long and tedious, their runtime is never felt by the viewer and they bring much of the humour to the film (we get to see Robert Pattison fall on his ass).
The film becomes much more serious as a turn of events forces them to remain in close confines with one another for longer than they expected. Eggers uses there reaction to explore the horror that psychological degradation can cause and the errs of toxic masculinity. He couldn’t do either of these things if this film didn’t center around two weird men. The male reaction to homoeroticism and gender roleplay, through household duties, are highlighted in an almost satirical manner, and the illusions in the film are so powerful that it is even difficult for the viewer to determine who and what to trust.
What I do know is that it was an amazing movie-going experience with flawless technical elements. Eggers’ second film incorporates beautiful cinematography and set design with a narrative that will have you thinking long past you’ve left the theatre. The accurate, seafarer, dialogue will have you questioning your ears a bit, but the film is so beautiful that your eyes will forget about the existence of subtitles.
Written by: Amari Washington