TIFF 2019 Review: The Lighthouse
Robbert Eggers’ The Lighthouse is relentless and stylish and completely mad
Shot in black-and-white 35mm, with Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe cast as 19th-century lighthouse keepers on a four-week stretch of isolated duty, The Lighthouse sets a promising stage for a descent into madness. A whole lot of weirdness and a couple of sensational performances ensure the premise delivers on its potential.
Thomas Wake (Dafoe), a weathered, cranky tyrant of a seaman is joined by trainee Ephraim Winslow (Pattinson), a reserved, much younger man eager to learn the trade and for a time, eager to please. They are both tasked with manning the lighthouse, but Ephraim is instantly resentful over his limited role and Thomas’ domineering tendencies.
Male loneliness is a hell of a drug, as it were. As the two men yearn for power and companionship, and control of the light, their sense of trust, along with their sanity, erode at a furious pace.