The Lighthouse is a brooding, sinister black and white film with towering performances by the two protagonists, Robert Pattinson and William Dafoe.

Thomas Wake (Dafoe) is a grizzled old tar, the lighthouse keeper on a rugged windswept island off the New England coast.

Ephraim Winslow (Pattinson) is a young drifter with a past, who signs up for a four-week stint as Wake’s assistant.

 

 

The wind howls, the lighthouse foghorn blares, the seas crash on the rocky foreshore. Inside the confined living quarters the two strangers must share a bedroom, eat together, survive each other.

Set in the late 1800s, this is a gripping thriller scripted by director Robert Eggers and his brother Max, with Jarin Blaschke’s stark black and white cinematography emphasising a mounting feeling of horror.

Wake is a garrulous bully, goading the young Winslow as he orders him around.

 

 

Winslow is taciturn and withdrawn, saying little about his past except that he was a timberman. 

“What’s a timberman want with bein’ a wicky,” probes Wake.

“Just lookin’ a’ earnin’ a livin’ – just like any man. Startin’ anew,” says Winslow.

“On the run, are ye?”

“No, sir.”

 

 

Soon the unlikely pair are joining in nightly drunken binges, belting out old sea shanties, dancing arm-in-arm around the table,

But always there is an underlying feeling of dread, of impending violence, which increases as a raging storm traps Winslow on the island when his four-week term is up.

 

 

The Lighthouse is screening at the Somerville Auditorium from Monday to Sunday, 13 – 19 January, as part of the Perth Festival LotteryWest film season.

 

Watch the trailer…

 

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