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Non-Review Review: The Lighthouse

The Lighthouse is a striking, evocative, psychedelic horror. It is also about twenty minutes too long.

Director Robert Eggers made a striking impression with The Witch. Indeed, there’s a clear set of throughlines connecting The Lighthouse to The Witch. Both are fundamentally period pieces about characters who find themselves in extremely isolated conditions, with the unsettling implication that something vague and ominous is lurking in the darkness just beyond the candle light. Both are also highly formal pieces, with Eggers embracing a consciously heightened aesthetic to create a sense of unreality within his film.

Downward spiral.

However, The Lighthouse stands apart from The Witch in the particulars of its exploration of isolation. After all, The Witch was a story about a young woman who moved into the rural countryside with her entire nuclear family. In contrast, the experience in The Lighthouse is much more intense. It is the story of a young man who finds himself offered a (relatively) high-paying position on a remote rock to work as an assistant to a veteran lighthouse keeper. The two men are strangers when they start to work together, and may remain strangers throughout.

The Lighthouse becomes a study of the descent into madness, the collapse of civility, and the horrors of living with a terrible room mate.

Solid as a rock.

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