While the intention of this thread is to highlight great, but somewhat unknown movies, I feel compelled to issue a warning about a recent “off the beaten path” film that I saw yesterday. The film is called The Lighthouse, and It is billed as a terrifying psychological thriller starring Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson, and is receiving rave reviews from critics and viewers alike (92% on Rotten Tomatoes from critics, 70% from audiences).
The film is shot in a narrow 4:3 ratio, and is in black and white. These two factors made me feel cramped and unsettled from the get go - a great way to start a horror/thriller. Unfortunately, that’s about as close as it came. I will say that the film is masterfully shot - the textures and contrast in the black and white presentation are rich and well controlled, and the cinematography is outstanding. Shot selection and framing are superb, and perspective is used fluently to communicate with the viewer.
The big miss, and the reason I encourage you to avoid this film, is the story (or lack thereof). This is one of those films that I really think people don’t understand, yet are reluctant to admit they don’t understand, so they go the other way, and rave about it. They extol it’s virtues of “mysticism” and “deeper meaning”, all the while hoping no one calls their bluff. This in turn causes more people to jump on the bandwagon, for fear of being left on the outside, and not “getting it”. Well I most certainly did NOT get it, and I’ll freely admit it. I was so confused, I went on line after, thinking I must have missed something big in the film. Nope. If you read the reviews and comments, it’s clear that no one really “gets it”. I did find a description that sums my own feelings up pretty well: