The Lighthouse is a rollercoaster ride of murder and mayhem

New movie The Lighthouse burns brightly

Despite its low budget, US director Robert Eggers’ black-and-white follow up to ‘The Witch’ leaves the viewer reeling in shock and awe.

The powerful tale of two lighthouse keepers who slowly drive each other insane while stationed on an isolated rock off the coast of Maine, The Lighthouse burns bright in the memory long after it has ended.

Slow to start, the movie soon builds momentum as it follows the dysfunctional relationship between two lighthouse keepers – Tom Wake and Ephraim Winslow (Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson).

It is fascinating to watch as the relationship between the two men slowly disintegrates over their four-week stint on the isolated rock.

Wake is a no-nonsense old seadog with sea shanties and tall tales aplenty, while the younger, inexperienced Winslow is new to lighthouse keeping, having previously worked in the Canadian forests cutting and hauling timber.

From the beginning, the contrast between the two men is palpable.

For example, the ebullient Wake enjoys copious amounts of rum with his dinner each night, while the young and relatively quiet Winslow abstains.

As the movie progresses, though, a melancholy darkness begins to descend, and the two find each other at loggerheads over their daily duties and general running of the lighthouse.

Wake is forced to assert his authority over the increasingly rebellious Winslow, with things coming to a head when Winslow who, as mentioned previously, did not drink, now begins to partake of the strong liquor.

At this point it is as if a dangerous fuse is lit, and the comrade-like chemistry that existed between the two men changes dramatically.

With a fierce storm brewing and after copious amounts of rum, the younger lighthouse keeper admits that Winslow is not his real name: explaining to Wake that he had to change it after one of his colleagues at the Canadian timber mill died of an accident.

On top of this, Wake’s mistrust further increases when he finds out that the young ‘wickie’ has deliberately killed a seagull.

As the superstitious Wake explains, there is no more sacrilegious act than for any mariner to kill a seabird, and he becomes incandescent with rage.

From here on, and with the storm growing in ferocity, The Lighthouse begins its dangerous slide into chaos and madness; with the unpredictable Winslow slowly entering a realm of liquor-induced insanity, dejection and dread.

As the rum takes hold he begins to hallucinate, imagining himself in the most vile and terrifying situations, including one scene where he thinks he is making love to a beautiful mermaid, but ends up being slowly strangled by the tentacles of a massive octopus.

The dark visual elements of this movie are outstanding, particularly as the storm intensifies: with the harsh and unforgiving ocean mercilessly lashing the lighthouse and its unsuspecting inmates, effectively cutting them off from civilisation and resulting in a miasma of brutality and violence.

The Lighthouse is showing at Luna Cinemas and Luna Outdoor from Thursday, February 6.

By Mike Peeters

The Lighthouse is a rollercoaster ride of murder and mayhem
The Lighthouse is a rollercoaster ride of murder and mayhem.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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