Panorama | Special Presentations
Robert Eggers caused a stir with his beautifully controlled horror film The Witch, but no one expected him to attain the level of modern master with this, his hallucinatory follow-up. As two lighthouse keepers trying to maintain their sanity while confined to a desolate, windswept rock off the coast of 19th-century Maine, Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson are both mesmerizing, the former a peg-legged and petulant veteran named Tom Wake and the latter a close-mouthed Canadian named Ephraim Winslow, whose haunted look suggests some skulduggery in his past. Eggers plays the two men off of each other - they both slowly come apart at the seams - and conflates the tropes of the gothic horror and supernatural genres in an unclassifiable wonder that both shocks and surprises.
"The desolate, lonely environment of the island is captured beautifully in squid-ink blacks and storm-cloud greys, all shot in a boxy 4:3 ratio. There’s a vintage horror feel, both embracing conventions of the genre and defying them… The Lighthouse leaves you dazed, terrified and elated, and it signals Eggers as one of the most exciting directors working today." - Joseph Walsh, Time Out
FIPRESCI Prize, Directors’ Fortnight, Cannes 19