fatpie42’s review published on Letterboxd:
Best thing: I'm not normally someone to highlight well shot films, unless it's in relation to how clear I can see the action in action sequences. But in this case it was very obvious that the shooting style was building up the tension of the film. I don't know anything about filming, but I could tell that the way shots were framed here was very intentional.
Worst thing: For the most part this film showcasing an oppressive sense of isolation did not seem overly slow, but certainly there were points where I still thought it dragged a bit. Perhaps we could have done without some of the farting? Maybe?
The Lighthouse is a very well told story but I don't think it's all that original. The idea of isolated figures growing slowly mad with a growing obsession is nothing new. On the other hand it's classic Lovecraft and so The Lighthouse does an exceptional job of bringing Lovecraftian madness to the big screen.
I'll be honest, I wasn't as entertained by this as I was by The Witch. And I think my main issue is the ending. The Lighthouse ending felt inevitable, while the ending of The Witch completely caught me by surprise and really spoke to me. (I saw one reviewer criticise The Witch for simply entertaining the beliefs about witches at face value, but that was precisely why I loved that ending. That historical period's view of witches was taken at face value and yet that ending knocked it on its head.) The Lighthouse did a lot to surprise me visually but the story had very little beyond subtle details to ever keep me guessing.
Also frankly I'm still not sold on Robert Pattinson. He's fine here, he's fine in Good Time, he's very nearly great in Damsel but doesn't really have enough time and he bores the hell out of me in Cosmopolis (but then again everyone seems to be boring as hell in that movie). I just haven't yet seen him in a role where he really shines yet. He does just fine here. Willem Dafoe, however, won't settle for "fine". Did Dafoe love this role as much as it looks? His faux-Shakespearian rantings are simply amazing.
In the end this is a slow oppressive black and white movie about two men's inevitable downfall as they go crazy in their isolation. I can't help but hold that against it. I judge films on entertainment most of all. (And yes this has funny moments, but I wouldn't call it horror comedy.) Still as far as slow oppressive black and white films about slow inevitable demise and Lovecraftian madness go, this is definitely a high level of quality.