It is Monday and I love to go experimental on weekdays. And so I finished watching The Lighthouse on Netflix last night. A film that I was intrigued from the poster itself. With many people calling it the career best performance of Robert Pattinson to some people being perplexed by the end of the film, I was really waiting to watch the film once it was out on an OTT platform. A film that had premiered at the Cannes Film Festival a couple of years ago, finally made its way to Netflix. Is it worth your time, stay tuned.
Story & Screenplay
Based on an unfinished story by Edgar Allan Poe, The Lighthouse follows the story of two lighthouse keepers who try to maintain their sanity after they are stranded on a mysterious island. The story is experimental and weird veiled as a periodic horror film. This is one of the stories straight out of a David Lynch film. The story is simple to begin with but it blurs the boundaries of realism as it gets weirder by the minute. The screenplay might seem simple from the face of it but it is extremely layered and complex and open to interpretation. While this might seem like a routine survival story, the screenplay uses the concepts of mythology of Prometheus and Proteus which is well engrained in the screenplay. The leisurely pace just adds to the atmosphere which is weird in itself. The monochrome seems clautrophobic and creepy and after a while you start missing the sun. It is almost like a sleepy and depressed atmosphere that is intentionally created to give a glimpse of the state of mind of the protagonist. The subtle twists and turns including a haunting scream will definitely hold your attention. There would be a section of the audience that will find the pacing slow. Yes it is slow and niche but make no mistake this is an immersive experience like no other. The final act and its buildup will definitely leave you dazed and scratching your heads in search for answers but that is the beauty of it. The screenplay is brilliantly weird and manages to hold your attention throughout.
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are minimal and sparingly used. Instead the makers let the surroundings and the silence do the talking. The BGM is fabulous and raises the pulse every now and then. The cinematography is outstanding. With the film shot in a 1.19:1 aspect ratio and that makes the film all the more claustrophobic. Director Robert Eggers who is the director behind the critically acclaimed film The Witch has done a fabulous job here. He does not spoon feed the audience or provide easy answers. He successfully creates this jigsaw puzzle that is never-ending and a tough nut to crack.
The performances are excellent. Logan Hawkes as Winslow has his moment to shine. Valeriia Karaman as the mermaid is terrifying and capable of giving you nightmares. Williem Dafoe as Wake is quite a complex character and played to perfection. And this has to be the career best performance of Robert Pattinson and by a mile! As Howard he has so many blurry and bizarre emotions to play with that despite minimal dialogues and my god has he delivered a haunting act, an act that stays with you and haunts you long after the film has ended. A masterclass in acting if there ever was one.
The Lighthouse is niche, claustrophobic and brilliantly weird. If you enjoy experimental cinema then do not miss out on this. Available on Netflix and Highly Recommended.