The Lighthouse ★★★★

A masterpiece of black and white cinematography and a nightmare vision of encrusted nautical lore, "The Lighthouse" will leave you dumbfounded with the extent to which it was able to entwine the natural landscape of a lonely rockbound lighthouse with the deteriorating mental state of the two men stranded well past the four week stint to which they signed on. Isolation, loneliness, claustrophobia, alcoholism, the persistent pounding of waves against the rocks, the deafening repetition of a blaring foghorn, a burgeoning nor'easter, and the dueling phobias of the the two "Thomases," one old and wizened, one young and morally unbalanced... all these combine to draw us into a maelstrom of madness as we witness the mental deterioration of the two men, playing back and forth between nurturing comradeship and antagonistic dueling. It all seems headed toward a violent resolve as the tension builds to almost intolerable levels.

This is a film like no other, the brainchild of director Robert Eggers, who built the evocative sets on a tiny spit of rock jutting out from the Nova Scotia coastline. An evil stew of old sea legends and the historic lore of lighthouse keepers, "wickees" as they were called, who lived and worked in extreme weather, apart from civilization for extended periods of time. A character study with elements of horror, brilliantly acted by Willem Defoe and Robert Pattinson, and with the intimacy and poetic dialog of a two character stage play.

Avail yourself of this sinister delight, some dark and stormy night, when the wind is whistling around the eaves and the rain beats hard against the windows. Perhaps a cup of grog or a bottle of rum close at hand to steel your nerve for a truly unsettling experience!

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