The Lighthouse (Blu-ray)  [Region Free]
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|Runtime||1 hour and 49 minutes|
From Robert Eggers, the visionary filmmaker behind the modern horror masterpiece The Witch, comes this hypnotic and hallucinatory tale of two lighthouse keepers (Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson) on a remote and mysterious New England island in the 1890s.
As an approaching storm threatens to sweep them from the rock and strange apparitions emerge from the fog, each man begins to suspect that the other has become dangerously unmoored.
- Feature Commentary with co-writer/ director Robert Eggers
- Deleted Scenes
- A Dark & Stormy Tale
- Aspect Ratio : 1.78:1
- Language : English
- Package Dimensions : 17.2 x 13.4 x 1.6 cm; 80 Grams
- Media Format : Blu-ray
- Run time : 1 hour and 49 minutes
- Release date : 8 June 2020
- Dubbed: : Spanish, French
- Subtitles: : Spanish, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Arabic
- Language : German (DTS 5.1), English (DTS 5.1), English (DTS 5.1)
- Studio : Universal Pictures UK
- ASIN : B083R1B6S7
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Eggers’ surreal horror is a fierce contemporary mythological insight into homoeroticism. Exploring the idealisms of man, supplying toxic masculinity upon the poisoned water supply that drives Winslow to alcohol. Uncovering the complexities of human nature and sexuality through meticulously orchestrated conversations that fluctuate in enragement. “Boredom. Eviler than the devil. Makes men to villains”. Indicative to the gradual embracing of immoral homosexuality, given the archaic century, that is bestowed upon these two individuals. Two morally ambiguous men, segregated from society, in constant contact with each other. Winslow especially, sexually repressed as he practices onanism with the visualisations of a siren conjured in his mind from an ornate sculpture. A duel for dominance, where one must accede to submission. Physically beating each other into capitulation, iconising foreplay.
The homoeroticism sprouting from Eggers’ nautical screenplay of Gods and monsters, coincides with the power struggle that encapsulates these two men into primitive beings. Desiring control over one and other. The striking visceral imagery, particularly the composited shot of Wake and Winslow adapting Schneider’s artwork ‘Hypnosis’, known for its queer interpretations, assisting in unearthing the mythic roots of the screenplay. From a psychological perspective, the subdued terror incites an Oedipal fixation from Winslow’s viewpoint. Both fearing and worshipping Wake as, not just a deity figure, but a fathering dynamic. Consequently causing Winslow to rampantly act like a child during heated conversations, often resorting to physical altercations.
Fortunately, the sizeable performances from both Pattinson and Dafoe establish these thematic interpretations, in what are undoubtedly career-best roles. The hurricane force at which Dafoe exerts, is nothing short of behemothic power. A titan amongst men. From the nautical dialect to the ferocity of his line delivery. Simply unmatched. Pattinson nearly equaled his dominant ability, with only a wobbly accent and occasional mumble diluting the clarity of his dialogue. The eventual turning point and climactic distorted screams highlighting the subdued acting style that he has polished over the years, truly aiming for acclaim. Eggers’ choice for a narrowed aspect ratio and orthochromatic aesthetic accentuates the photography of its time period, whilst symbolising the repressed nature of its characters. Equipped with meticulously implemented lighting and ornate production design, The Lighthouse truly was an exceptional masterclass is technical filmmaking.
Alas, the tidal voyage of this surreal psychological horror was too curvaceous for its own good. A problem was bound to arise, and so it did. Much like his narrative pacing in ‘The VVitch’, Eggers offers a sluggish motion to allow each detail to “strike ye down”. Unfortunately, the repetitious structure of Winslow completing his laborious duties with limited escalation in dread for the first hour, exemplified the very issue at the core of his films. They’re too slow, with limited development from a characterised and thematic perspective. The Promethean mythology, homoeroticism and dynamic power struggle were only established after Winslow inevitably bashed that one-eyed seagull in. The preceding first act provided insubstantial information other than the remoteness of the lighthouse and Winslow’s recurring duties as a “wickie”. Essentially withholding integral enlightenment until the halfway mark. As a consequence, Eggers was unable to produce the underlying vibe of dread that exquisitely powered the third act. Opting for a simple dramatic approach, albeit with minimised drama thanks to superfluous character development, rather than immediately entrancing with its eventual surrealistic integration. Undeniably sumptuous to glance at, but ultimately vacuous with its monotonous approach.
Much like my apprehension with ‘The VVitch’, a feature that personally felt disconnected upon first viewing, The Lighthouse will more than likely illuminate with future watches. A surreal voyage into the homoerotic interpretations of ancient mythology. The accentuation of differentiating dominance with submission. Eggers once again possesses exceptional talent to implement an exquisitely audacious horror, bolstered by two sterling performances, that regrettably takes too long to set sail for the powerfully inclined sea.
It's visually stunning - shot in a sort of granular, high contrast monochrome that renders the light of the eponymous Lighthouse a blistering white-out and the relentlessly grim surroundings on the rock, a storm-washed world of ash and ebony. The sound design is also pretty remarkable - and seems to draw heavily from the David Lynch handbook of the uncanny.
The cracks start to show when we turn to the plot- a sort of ordinary tale of mutual loathing, mermaids & madness weighed down with a heap load of portentous imagery & mythic symbolism. Depending on your perspective I guess, this is either an impressive fusion of allegory & psychological drama or, for want of a better word, a wee bit silly.
Willem Dafoe certainly seems to have had a field day with his role as the overbearing, unlikeable senior sea-dog - and by golly, he "aaaarrs" enough to make a pirate turn blue. Robert Pattinson looks sullen and depressed - which I suppose is right on the money for a character that spends most of the film dealing with implausibly large amounts of faeces & urine whilst being harassed by seagulls. Between them, they have to carry the whole film, and as suggested above, this is quite a hefty weight to bear.
Egger's previous outing, "The Witch", was something truly special, and although it shared a similarly jaw-droppingly bleak perspective to this, it wore its message much more lightly . "The Lighthouse", feels like it desperately wants to be talked about, or unpicked in the way the work of any great author or auteur is, and I'm not convinced that it doesn't insult our intelligence in the process. There's a thin line between clever and stupid, as Spinal Tap used to say.
Still, the one thing that can't be denied is that you are unlikely to see much that is similar in the next 12 months - so if the idea of 'Eraserhead-on-Sea' appeals to you - go on - knock yourself out, there's lots to be enjoyed here. However, if you're the sort of person that gets annoyed when the camera stares fixedly at a wall for 2 minutes with little or no explanation, I'd, er, stay well clear.
I had seen a number of adverts for this film in recent months, and I knew that it was apparently initially inspired by, though not actually based on, Edgar Allan Poe’s final work, ‘The Light-House’, a fragment of story that Poe was working on when he died, in 1849. I also recalled watching a superbly exciting BBC film of the same name, from 2016, starring the wonderful Mark Lewis Jones. It tells the true story of 2 lighthouse keepers on the Smalls Island Lighthouse, in the Irish Sea, who went mad after being marooned by a storm. So, I felt confident, venturing to purchase this film, which had received a lot of critical acclaim upon release. Incidentally, according to the director, Robert Eggers, who co-wrote ‘The Lighthouse’ with his brother Max, the Smalls Light incident was an inspiration (also see for reference, their use of the name ‘Thomas’), but he does not cite the BBC film. Naughty!
The first thing to say about the Eggers film is that technically, it is remarkable. Filmed during April 2018, in Nova Scotia, Eggers decided that he wanted to create a particular ‘vintage’ look. He used black and white 35mm film, and a vintage 1930s lens, which produces an intense, rich, almost voluptuous depth of shading. And he uses a nearly square 1.19:1 aspect ratio, which is reminiscent of very old films. This is effective, enhancing as it does, the sense of claustrophobia and the limited choices constraining the 2 protagonists.
The overall look of the film locations is also magnificent. A 70 foot lighthouse was constructed for filming, and the sense of period, and of desolate location, is overpowering. The sound too, of the wind, the sea and the fog-horn attached to the lighthouse, is intensely evocative. So, to watch, this is a really tremendous film, deserving at least 5 Stars.
However, as you may guess from my title, my husband and I REALLY did not enjoy this film. We love films of all kinds. Tough, challenging films that have something relevant to say, can be singularly rewarding. Sadly, in our view, this film said nothing interesting or relevant. Instead, it was cliché-ridden and overblown. Willem Defoe, in ‘Platoon’(1986), Mississippi Burning’(1988), ‘Spider-Man’(2002) and sequels, is a powerful, eminently watchable, actor. Here however, as the older of the 2 lighthouse keepers, he delivers another strong performance, but one that just does not ring true. The dialogue is salty and attempts authenticity, but somehow just feels hollow. The director tries to manipulate us, to shock.
Ultimately, this is a film which emphatically delivers style over substance. Initially, it promises much, but has an emptiness at it’s core. A weak, overblown, 3 Stars.
To start with, the fact it is done in a grainy black and white vision, just sends you back to those incredibly tough times which our forefathers endured. The cinematography is amongst the best I’ve ever watched, the old saying a picture speaks a thousand words certainly rings true in this film.
The plot? Well Robert Eggers deliberately leaves much open to interpretation, like myths of old there are many layers to the story with much scope for in depth analysis. It’s the kind of film you have to watch multiple times.
There is a layer of masculinity deliberately added to the storyline , only two males all alone in one of the hardest environments one can think of .some suggest toxic masculinity, but in my view that simple term lacks the depth of what the film is trying to present, to me it shows the masculine in all its depth and complexity, showing the virtue of masculine endurance as well as it’s aggressive side. This added with madness and homoeroticism makes for a very dark and complex plot indeed
Finally the script and acting is absolutely fantastic both William Defoe and Robert Pattinson rising to a very big challenge indeed, managing not only to live up to the script but surpass it with their acting skills
This is absolutely worth a watch
after the movie i searched what it is about and was bored by that aswell. apparently it is a greek tale of zues and prometheus but i dont think anybody would of got that by watching the film alone as there was no clear stor. most of the film focused on building the characters but even that didnt seem too interesting as they didnt do anything but hate each other so felt pointless.
all i am saying is that the ilm looked so so promising and the trailer took the couple of seconds in the movie that was actually good and baited people by using that. for example in the trailer you could see tentacles but really in the movie you only see them for about 3 seconds and whatever that scene was it just didnt make much sense for the film alone.
in conclusion if think if you have any chance of enjoying and understanding this movie you have to really know your greek mythology which nowadays who is.