‘The Lighthouse’ presents mixed bag

Nicholas Solomon

“The Lighthouse” is, without a doubt, one of the strangest films I have seen in a while.

Featuring the magnificently bearded lighthouse keeper Thomas Wake (Willem Dafoe) going into verbal death matches with fellow lighthouse keeper Ephraim Winslow (Robert Pattinson), the Edgar Allan Poe-esque story is sure to be loved by audiences it’s geared toward.

Directed by Robert Eggers (“The VVitch”), the plot is simple; taking place in the latter half of the 19th century, Winslow travels to an island off the coast of New England to be stationed at the island’s lighthouse for 4 weeks.

Winslow is paired with Wake, an older, sardonic gentleman with off-putting habits, such as farting or chattering constantly. Strange events start occurring on the island and the two gradually lose their sanity.

The best thing about this film is the dialogue and the acting.

Willem Dafoe fits perfectly as a crotchety sea dog, chewing every scene that he appears. As did 2018’s “High Life,” “The Lighthouse” proves that Robert Pattinson is an excellent actor. The audience can feel Pattinson’s increasing annoyance toward Dafoe’s character – until he snaps.

The dialogue brings tons of humor in what seems to be a serious film on the surface.

The duo’s verbal spars range from long tangents insulting Wake’s Lobster cooking with Wake being sincerely hurt and yelling at Winslow bestowing a sailor’s curse on him, to Winslow railing on Wake because he smells.

The interactions are comparable to Quentin Tarantino or David Lynch’s dialogue work, creating a solid selling point of the film.

The dialogue lets you bathe in its atmosphere with several stylized features, such as the letter-boxed aspect ratio and black and white visuals.

The story is thin and non-traditional narrative wise.

It’s centered around a man slowly going insane alongside the audience with a few strange mythical undertones. The run time drags with this film – reflecting Winslow’s perception of time he has spent on the island with Wake.

This film is tough to recommend to general audiences who want a run-of-the-mill, tried-and-true film experience.

While fans of “The VVitch” will like it, I think it may bore the average moviegoer. I liked it because of its style, atmosphere and dialogue; however, one could rail on it for being too slow and dull.

Edited by Adam White, Hannah Alleyne, Wesley Tabor