The Lighthouse

The Lighthouse ★★★½

Being a typical boy, I have a head full of trivia. One such tidbit is that, prior to the automation of British lighthouses in 1980, a lighthouse must have a duty of three keepers at all times - a law that was passed with very good reason which, as my follow up trivia would have it, 'in case one goes mad'.

The Lighthouse is based on that reason, the notorious Smalls Island incident of 1801 that saw one keeper dead and the other plunged into the irretrievable depths of insanity. Written and directed by Chris Crow, the film takes the basic historical fact of that tragedy and delivers a darkly claustrophobic, deeply creepy and atmospheric narrative that puts one in mind of classic ghost stories from the likes of Edgar Allen Poe, M.R. James or Dickens.

Effectively a two-hander between actors Michael Jibson and - a personal favourite of mine - Mark Lewis Jones, The Lighthouse feels very much like a stage play and utilises its singular location to impressive cabin fever-like effect. If I had one criticism of it it's that the nature of the beast requires several scenes to be occupied by just one actor and that's tough proposition when you wish to keep audiences engaged. There are some sniffy reviews for this on LB, but I'd say ignore them, especially the criticism of the acting which is very strong from both leads. Basically if you like tight, contained little movies that feel like theatre and boast great atmosphere, than you'll find much to enjoy in The Lighthouse.

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