The Lighthouse Keeper’s World is Round

The Lighthouse (Robert Eggers, 2019)

A curious psychological horror, which begins in the Empire Marketing Board zone of Drifters and goes via Knife in the Water to A Field in England, with the Total Bollocks Overdrive cranked up to twelve and then cranked up further.

It teaches us that, whatever we might think of the Twiglet franchise, we sometimes have to suffer first to see what the apparently pretty vacant star does to shed the image. Pitt and Depp learned the lesson (although seem to have forgotten it) and Radcliffe had his moments and Driver is making interesting choices despite a degree of mehness… Admitted, I last saw Robert Pattison in High Life, but he certainly wasn’t the worst thing in it.

I do wonder if he’s about to be typecast as a wanker.

The Batman might be interesting.

Pattinson is Ephraim Winslow, a drifter in the nineteenth century who aspires to be a lighthouse keeper in New England and is bossed about by veteran Thomas Wake (Willem Dafoe). Winslow ends up being given all the rubbish jobs, whilst Wake almost-quotes Moby-Dick and their relationship ebbs and flows. There are forebodings as Winslow finds a carved mermaid in his mattress and fails to learn the lesson of The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner; for that matter the failure of the two keeper they’ve relieved makes you worry.

We descend into Todorovian territory as the isolation gets to them, as they drain their bottles of spirits or they turn out to be already having a case of the Screaming Ahabs. There is the violence of nature and the violence men.

I reckon there’s a Rutan in the cellar.

It’s not quite a two-hander, but the black and white photography (with the emphasis on black) in a 1.19:1 aspect ratio which the characters can freely move in an out of, even as the camera pans horizontally or rises vertically in truly claustrophobic. Whilst it could stand to lose twenty minutes, it is at the same time utterly gripping.


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