Off the coast of New England in the late 19th century, Ephraim Winslow has been sent as a wickie to a lighthouse for four weeks. The lighthouse is on an island with no one but Winslow and his supervisor Thomas Wake. Wake is a brash old salt who loves his drink and his lighthouse. When Winslow arrives, he finds a carving of a mermaid in a hole in his bedroll and keeps It to himself.
Another thing to know about Wake is that he is a superstitious man and believes that certain actions can bring about bad omens. One of these things is that you shouldn’t kill a seabird because they’re believed to be reincarnated sailors. The work is hard and the days are long. At night and in his dreams, Winslow seas sea sirens, monsters, and other unexplained things.
THE LIGHTHOUSE is erected by Robert Eggers. It is written by brothers Robert and Max Eggers. The film’s original direction was to base the film on the story by Edgar Allen Poe but it was reworked to tell a different story in the end. Robert also directed THE WITCH and like that film, there is a minimalistic approach to the filming with there only being three actors cast in THE LIGHTHOUSE; Robert Pattinson as Ephraim Winslow, Willem Dafoe as Thomas Wake, and Valeriia Karaman as the mermaid. The film is also filmed in 1.19:1 aspect ratio so that the film has a claustrophobic feel rather than how much of the image is shown in the widescreen format.
Robert Eggers had me sold on his talent after seeing THE WITCH but this is on another level. The acting and writing make the madness that these men are feeling seem overwhelmingly real. He digs into the history when telling a story and I love that he is telling another folklore in America.
The video is a 1080p AVC presentation that looks incredible. The film is completely in back and white. The 1.19:1 aspect ratio blocks out more than the typical 1.33:1 so the images are focused on what the filmmakers want you to see. The images are sharp with a lot of weathering in the set design both inside and out. You can see the wind, cold saltwater, and sun-beaten house that they are made to live in. Skin looks rough and every skin blemish can be seen due to the filter that the cinematographer uses. Detail and textures of fabrics are also seen in most shots. There is a little flaring in some of the transitions from light to dark but this is nothing major.
The audio is a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix that, like the picture, is immersive and claustrophobic. The sound design is by Damian Volpe and he has the task of working in a consistent fog horn that Is made to annoy but not drive out the audience. The waves crashing on the surrounding rocks are also something that is made to be heard at all times mixed with the obnoxious swarms of the gulls. He also had the task of making the huge storm feel like it would tear the building apart. He worked with the hauntingly beautiful score by Mark Korven to never know what is an effect and what is music. This mix along with the dialogue gets top marks for creating the atmosphere for the film.
SUPPLEMENTS & PACKAGING
-Audio Commentary: with writer/director/producer Robert Eggers
-THE LIGHTHOUSE: A Dark and Stormy Tale: This extra is broken down into several parts to dive into all of the elements to bring this film together.
-Also From Lionsgate
1 Blu-ray Disc
1080p AVC MPEG-4
Aspect ratio: 1.19:1
English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
THE BOTTOM LINE
THE LIGHTHOUSE is a good folklore/horror film and another success from Robert Eggers. It is a creepy and atmospheric film with incredible acting. This is only my opinion but this might be the best performance by Defoe. For those who doubt Robert Pattinson’s acting abilities, this is the film that will convert the doubters. Both the audio and video are near perfect. The extras are very good and give plenty of insight into the production. Fan’s of Eggers will not be disappointed. I highly recommend giving this a chance.