Ever been stuck in a location with someone who makes you go a little bit mad? I can't say I ever have been but I bet none of us would be able to say we've been stuck in an isolated location such as the titular one of Robert Eggers' The Lighthouse, a film that takes madness to a whole new level.

Two lighthouse keepers (Willem Dafoe & Robert Pattinson) try to maintain their sanity whilst living on a mysterious and remote New England island in the 1890s.
There's a hold that The Lighthouse had on me from the very beginning, the mysterious nature of the narrative and the hypnotic nature of the performances leaving me in a trance-like state for the majority of all the yelling, drinking, dancing and farting. I wasn't too enamoured with Robert Eggers' The Witch however, his work on the direction and writing, sharing duties with his brother Max, of The Lighthouse is something I can really admire. He's created something here so different, and I'm sure it will alienate a lot of audiences, but it's a film that should be championed for it's willingness to stand-out from the crowd.

There's a lot to admire about the craft of The Lighthouse, its visuals in particular having a very archaic vibe, the aspect ratio and being shot in black and white harking back to films of old. Jarin Blaschke's cinematography is truly beautiful and a work of art itself, the darkness shrouding the minds of these men brought to life with the shadows and the staging of the camera as we linger on their paranoid faces bringing a powerful punch right off the screen. There's also a wickedly haunting score from Mark Korven that accompanies the film as if we are heading to the depths of Davy Jones' locker ourselves.

The film would be nothing mind without the barnstorming performances from both Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson. You could always see Dafoe as a madman isolated on an island but it's Pattinson that really surprised me here, his descent into madness utterly disturbing yet one you won't want to take your eyes off. The pair bounce off each other so naturally, particularly during their moments of madness, and it's a real surprise to me that neither performance has gained any awards recognition this year. 

There's always method to the madness so don't let flatulence or stand-offs with seagulls put you off this psychological horror from Robert Eggers. The Lighthouse may just be the craziest cinematic experience I will have all year and sometimes you just need to embrace the madness.

Verdict: ★★★★★


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