A lighthouse keeper and his assistant pass the time on a desolate and remote island whilst tending to the light.
The Lighthouse could loosely be defined as a psychological horror film but really it escapes any obvious definition. As the two men go about their duties and start to reveal themselves to each other there are meditations on madness and identity and a clear question of untrustworthy narrators. But it is also a story that defies literal explanation with its glimpses of mermaids and sea serpents intertwined with flashbacks and time slips forcing you to think of more lateral explanations for the imagery in front of you.
Shot in a glorious black and white 4:3 aspect ratio with fantastic lighting it is worth watching on the big screen for the striking visuals but even more so for the sound. The island seems perpetually battered by storms and the dialogue is filled with period “sea dog” terminology, one that I had to tune into for the first fifteen minutes to really understand what was being said. Learning that the lighthouse keepers affectionately refer to themselves as “wickies” was great fun along with all the other myth and bluster leaving their mouths.
The final piece of the puzzle is the absolutely spectacular performances from Willem Defoe and Robert Pattinson that really have to be seen to be believed. Without total commitment on their part this wouldn’t be the success that it is and boy did it meet my expectations after hearing such amazing things about it.
A stunning achievement and a film that will have you discussing what it all means for some time.