OTTAWA’S CINEMA FOR INTERNATIONAL AND INDEPENDENT MOVIES

The Lighthouse

There is enchantment in the light.

Robert Eggers’s The Lighthouse is something rich and strange, but also something of the body and the mundane.

Poster for the trapped-on-a-rock drama The LighthouseTwo lighthouse keepers – grizzled Irishman Tom Wake (Willem Dafoe) and his new apprentice Winslow (Robert Pattinson) – arrive for a four-week stint and set themselves to work: the cistern to be cleaned; coal to be barrowed, and the lantern itself to be attended to. However, Wake keeps the lantern duties for himself and treats Winslow like a lackey.

Wake is a nightmare boss, but there’s also the feeling that Winslow’s wound up a bit too tight and has some shady history of his own. Madness has already taken Winslow’s predecessor (a hint of The Shining, perhaps) and superstitions reign as the two men go quietly mad and a storm approaches.

Both men throw themselves physically into their parts in a way totally at odds with the usual leading man vanity. Eggers has created a film of disturbing horror, absurdist comedy and probing psychodrama. The Lighthouse is a saltwater gothic masterpiece.

  – John Bleasdale, Cinevue

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