Hello everyone, this week I REALLY wanted to discuss Robert Egger’s sophomore film, “The Lighthouse”. I saw it five times and each time was better than the last. Although it’s no longer being screened in theaters, for those of you who haven’t seen the film, hopefully you can watch it at home.
Egger’s film is about two lighthouse keepers and their slow descent into madness. It’s shot with 35mm B&W film in an almost square format (a direct link to the usage of square format for early silent films). Most of the film was shot using middle grays with the exception of bright whites saved for sources of light in the movie (the lighthouse and candlelight).
The only main actors are Willem Dafoe (left) and Robert Pattinson (right) and they both do a fantastic job. One thing I really love about Robert Eggers is that he’s very serious about researching and creating a very rounded period piece. Everything from the clothes to the set design to the accents of the characters was carefully thought out. The premise of the film itself was based off a story set in Wales in the late 1800s. Two lighthouse keepers, both named Tom (younger and and older) had the similar task of watching a lighthouse for a set amount of time before rotating out, BUT the older Tom dies from a heart attack which makes the younger Tom fear he will be convicted of murder so he buries the body. A bad storm passes through and Tom ends up being stranded on this rock with a decaying body and goes insane. The premise is almost entirely similar with the film except the movie takes place in American hence Pattinson’s New York accent.
The sound design of the film is incredible, the lighthouse’s foghorn sounds off almost continuously and whenever there happens to be any sort of silence in the film, it’s quite deafening to the ears. The viewer is meant to feel very claustrophobic and “on edge” the whole time. We never know if both characters are getting along or want to kill each other. The use of B&W film was a beautiful choice on the director’s part and I’m looking forward to what’s next. I hope everyone enjoys their Thanksgiving break!