Director: Robert Eggers
Cast: Willem Dafoe, Robert Pattinson
Release Date: January 7, 2020
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 10/10
Disc Rating: 8/10
From Robert Eggers, the visionary filmmaker behind the modern horror masterpiece The Witch, comes this hypnotic and hallucinatory tale of two lighthouse keepers (Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson) on a remote and mysterious New England island in the 1890s. As an approaching storm threatens to sweep them from the rock and strange apparitions emerge from the fog, each man begins to suspect that the other has become dangerously unmoored.
‘The Lighthouse’ tells the haunting tale of two lighthouse keepers (Dafoe and Pattinson) in the late 1800’s who arrive at their new position for a set number of weeks together with no company other than each other. While things initially go as planned and the pair go about their various tasks while interacting and relaxing at night, things begin going downhill after an unexpected storm shifts and their scheduled relief never arrives; their provisions dwindling and some even ruined by the weather. With no idea when or if their relief or further provisions will arrive, the pair slowly starts to snap while fear and irrational thinking overtakes logic. As sanity quickly slips away and tensions build, it soon becomes anyone’s guess whether the pair can remain civil and keep their darkness at bay until help eventually arrives.
Directed by Robert Eggers (The Witch) from a screenplay he also co-wrote with Max Eggers, Robert Eggers does an amazing job at the helm of ‘The Lighthouse’ capturing an old school tone and feel within every aspect of this clever thriller. The film also owes a tremendous amount of credit to the outstanding performances from Willem Dafoe (Motherless Brooklyn, The Boondock Saints) and Robert Pattinson (Good Time, The Rover) who not only portray the leads but are also the only individuals onscreen for almost the entirety of the film and each easily deliver some of the finest performances of last year.
‘The Lighthouse’ is a gorgeous, haunting and unforgettable film with phenomenal and Oscar-worthy performances by leads Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson who are both at their absolute finest. One of the best films of 2019, it’s a chilling and beautifully detailed horror thriller set in the late 1800’s and with a commendable dedication to accuracy in recreating the various traits of that time in this period piece’s delivery. Everything from the dialogue and accents of the characters to the clothing, construction of the lighthouse and its surroundings along with much more always carefully plotted and delivered to a degree not often equaled; the old school pillar box filming method allows for an almost perfectly square, black and white presentation which itself does wonders in matching the style and approach. Filmmaker Robert Eggers has truly outdone himself here and I couldn’t be more excited to see just what he might bring us next. I can’t encourage everyone strongly enough to try and a make a definite point of checking out ‘The Lighthouse’ whenever possible. It’s a truly magnificent piece of cinema in every way that’s a treat simply to behold and a film that I wouldn’t suggest overlooking for those who appreciate such rare and inspired films that dare to do something different and pay homage to eras of film largely disregarded or merely forgotten in this day and age.
Overall, ‘The Lighthouse’ is a true masterpiece and drastically unlike almost any other recent film you’re likely to see. It’s a meticulously crafted and both expertly acted and directed piece of cinema that will creep into your head while repeatedly leaving you in awe at how perfect and uniquely it was approached and created. One of the best films of 2019 and surely the most unusual in all of the best possible ways; this sophomore feature length offering from filmmaker Robert Eggers is nothing short of perfect and certainly not to be missed. ‘The Lighthouse’ easily earns my highest possible recommendation and at the very least should more than justify the price of a rental and a couple hours of time for anyone already even moderately intrigued by the film.
The Blu-ray release of ‘The Lighthouse’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 1.19:1 Pillar Box Aspect Ratio in black and white. The video presentation looks wonderful and provides a smooth, detailed and generally gorgeous black and white presentation from start to finish which appears to do a marvelous job of representing the source. It holds up smoothly even during the notably dark moments, allowing the bright whites and greys to really pop amidst the deep black areas, the limited color scope and filming method really shining through wonderfully and showcasing more than you might expect courtesy of the absent full color spectrum. Overall, this is a fantastic high definition video presentation that should thoroughly please the fans and first time viewers who appreciate the film’s unique style and approach.
The Blu-ray release features a 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. This multichannel soundtrack nicely compliments the onscreen tension and beauty, providing a clean, crisp and fairly active audio presentation throughout. It does a wonderful job of balancing the calmer elements of indoors and in the absence of violent weather, while complimenting the anger and tension with the almost overwhelming foghorn blaring frequently throughout, and all five channels allowing the heavy storms and other fitting aspects to immerse you within, while never conflicting with any dialogue or other audio elements that may be occurring simultaneously. Overall, this is a great 5.1 DTS-HD MA soundtrack that delivers in every way required and sounds consistently clean and sharp; it should not disappoint.
The Blu-ray release of ‘The Lighthouse’ includes a few solid extras that fans of the film should enjoy. Included on the release is an ‘Audio Commentary with Writer/Producer/Director Robert Eggers’, in addition to a few ‘Deleted Scenes’ from the film (running approximately 5 minutes in length altogether). We are also treated to ‘The Lighthouse: A Dark and Stormy Tale’ (running approximately 38 minutes), a multi-part Featurette which explores the process of bringing the film to life and featuring interviews/comments with the cast and crew, plus tons of behind the scenes footage and more.