A pair of 19th-century ‘wickies’ battle insanity.
“It’s a rare pleasure to encounter a movie so genuinely strange you’re not sure how to define what you’ve just seen,” said Sara Stewart in the New York Post. “By turns funny, sinister, haunting, and mythical,” the second feature from the director of The Witch is “one of the best films of the year.” Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson co-star as a salty lighthouse keeper and the new assistant he torments with backbreaking labor and a string of insults delivered in an authentic 1890s sailor’s dialect. Shot on black-and-white film in a boxy aspect ratio, The Lighthouse “has the feel of an early cinema reel,” said Manuela Lazic in TheRinger.com. Its “strikingly beautiful” look blurs the line between fantasy and reality as cabin fever sets in, and “it’s impossible to say” which of the two men is losing his mind when a storm bears down and the movie’s mythic tone gives way to feverish visions. With each of his first two films, director Robert Eggers has reached into distant American history and “injected it with wild, menacing enchantment and terror,” said Alissa Wilkinson in Vox.com. He’s “like a kid flipping rocks over and finding creepy-crawlies underneath that rear their heads and bite.” ■