The Lighthouse ★★★★

Though I didn't care for The Witch, there was no use denying it came from a place of considerable talent and ambition, and obviously the permeation of its many singular quirks into the culture speaks to a real gift for finding the phrases and events that stick with people; that's not a celebration any more than it is if I say the same of Jerry Maguire. I'm admittedly skeptical of how much The Lighthouse really has to say. Like The Witch it's rather vague as a piece of storytelling, but not so much in the sense that it gives a feeling of deeper nonverbal communication and consciosuness (think Tarkovsky, Kubrick, Murnau) as that it just proceeds as a series of instantly iconic moments and foreboding images and sketched-out ideas that Eggers thought would be really cool. And he was right! What moments, what ideas, what a pair of outrageous performances; add this to black & white film stock framed at 1.20:1 and the checkmarks are ticked off whether I want them to be or not. I'm totally useless against this kind of enjoyment. It helps that, unlike The Witch (which had humor but never really followed the trail of it) it's inordinately funny, which makes it creepier. It's nothing more or less than a piece of atmosphere -- all gorgeously constructed sets and awful weather and palpable "doldrums" -- and it's really quite spectacular.