I understand why Robert Eggers The Lighthouse has been loved by so many. It’s got two excellent performances from Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson. It has an amazing sense of atmosphere that makes you feel like a fly on the wall in terms of experiencing both the characters psychological breakdown within the lighthouse and the lashing wind and rain should they venture outside. It’s got a score that is very effective in contributing to the sense of dread and terror that is consistent throughout. That said much as there is lots in the film to admire it left me very emotionally cold and distant.
It feels like the film defaults to moderately disturbing imagery in a way that gets old incredibly fast. It’s one of those instances where you feel if you ask the filmmakers about certain elements of the film their stock response would be “because we can.” They know that if they create the atmosphere well enough certain pretentious ” art film” watches will be salivating. Something like A Ghost Story is arguably just as pretentious but is much better because it has a tone and vibe that viewers can really sink into if you’re in the right mood. I found none of that from this.
I get why The Lighthouse ranks so high on many people’s films of 2019 list. However, if there’s a current poster child for pretentious film nerds shouting down anyone who doesn’t like it by saying that they just don’t understand “art” films it’s this one.