Charged with tending to a lighthouse for a four-week term, the taciturn Ephraim Winslow (Robert Pattinson) spends his days toiling away with backbreaking upkeep—while during the nights, it is only his elder cohort Thomas Wake (Willem Dafoe) who’s allowed to keep the beacon in operation. Growing weary of menial tasks, Ephraim's curiosity burgeons about Thomas' hours alone with the big light. But is it just fatigue and envy that cause Ephraim to become increasingly paranoid about the loitering seagulls, to the point where he's visited by strange apparitions?
Set in the 19th century and photographed by Jarin Blaschke in starkly beautiful black and white, THE LIGHTHOUSE harkens back to the literature of Herman Melville while accruing a hallucinatory ambiance that feels entirely fresh. The film's crude humour, hypnotic sounds, and spectral imagery lure us in, but it's Pattinson and Dafoe holding our attention, even as the men begin to slide off the deep end with truly unhinged performances that feature Pattinson, spellbinding with his bushy beard, piercing eyes, and salty accent, and Dafoe, captivating as he goads his young mate to reveal his shadowy past. Winner of an International Federation of Film Critics award at Cannes. (Synopsis courtesy of Toronto International Film Festival program guide, Michael Lerman)
“It’s hard to overstate just how accomplished this film is in every department…THE LIGHTHOUSE is a saltwater gothic masterpiece.” —John Bleasdale, Cinevue “It is explosively scary and captivatingly beautiful in cinematographer Jarin Blaschke’s fierce monochrome, like a daguerreotype of fear.” —Peter Bradshaw, Guardian “...Not enslaved to anyone reference point and so becomes entirely its own thing, a genre sui generis: Scrimshaw Gothic. Good films feel timeless, like they will always endure. But great ones feel eternal, like they’ve always been there.” —Jessica Kiang, The Playlist
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