beca’s review published on Letterboxd:
From a technical perspective this is pretty spectacular. The imagery is oftentimes really strong, especially when paired with the unique aspect ratio and black and white coloring. I could praise so many individual shots from this movie. The acting is also really strong from both Pattinson and Dafoe, especially in the film's second half. Despite everything good going on, however, I just didn't feel...anything for this movie. Oftentimes it just feels like a barrage of unsettling imagery paired with the mundane life of a lighthouse keeper with the occasional semblance of a story revealing itself in the character dialogue. That is, if you can even trust the characters to be revealing anything of worth at all. As a visual depiction of a descent into madness it does a decent job, but it never feels like much more than that.
The scenes as they are presented are objectively well-constructed for creating an uneasy, and then horrific, environment but I personally couldn't connect to the characters or narrative at all and ended up having no emotional reaction to anything going on. Whereas one of my roommates was so effected by this movie that she was crying afterwards, I only ever felt antsy for it to end. There is an extent to which I felt "trapped" with the characters and couldn't see an end in sight, but I don't believe it was the kind of trapped feeling that Eggers intended.
Is this a good movie? Well, sure. But it's not for me.