Robert Eggers debuted with the horror movie
The Witch (2015).
The Lighthouse (2019), shot in black-and-white and set in the
late 19th century, is a Shakespeare-ian tragedy and a psychological oneiric
horror movie. We don't know if the story happens for real or is simply one
long nightmare of a dying castaway. We don't even know which of the two men
is mad, or if both are. It is also a semi-religious parable, a quest for
the divinity, a fight between the priest who claims exclusive access to the god
and the everyman deprived of the "light", a light which reveals itself in
all its terrible beauty only to destroy the one who was hoping in redemption
A young man arrives at a lighthouse managed by an old grumpy limping man
(a spectacular Willem Dafoe in one of his greatest interpretations).
The lad finds the statuette of a mermaid and keeps it. He works hard around
the lighthouse but the old man, far from rewarding him, treats him like
a slave. One night the lad dreams of a mermaid.
The old man refuses to let the lad take care of the lantern: the lad can only
perform the heavy-duty chores around the machinery.
The old man tells him that the
lad's predecessor went mad and died. A bird taps at the window while the lad
is resting on his bed. The old tyrant causes an accident while the lad is
washing the walls of the lighthouse.
The old man warns him that it brings bad luck to kill a seagull.
One day the lad has the vision of a tentacled monster.
Another day he finds that the drinking water is black and realizes that
a dead seagull has contaminated their well.
Just then a seagull attacks him and
he viciously kills it. Sure enough this brings them bad luck: the wind changes
and the old man predicts a big storm. The boat that is supposed to come
and pick up the lad doesn't come.
They get drunk together and seem to
become almost friends. The lad dreams of a naked woman with a fish tail,
a mermaid washed ashore. The storm comes. They may not have enough food.
They did up a chest that is supposed to contain rations but actually contains
only bottles of alcohol. The lad hikes a knife that was in
the chest. They get drunk again and have an argument about the lobster that
the old man cooked. While the old man sleeps, the lad tries to steal the key
to the lantern but the old man wakes up in time. The lad dreams of having sex
with the mermaid. He is actually masturbating with the statuette in one hand.
Before or after, he pulls up a lobster trap and finds a skeleton inside,
and it's not clear if this is just imagined or real.
They get drunk again while the storm rages outside. They dance, then they
get into a fistfight. The lad confesses that he is not who he said he was.
He assumed the identity of a man who died while he didn't do anything to save
him. The lad tries to escape in the lifeboat but the old man destroys it
with an axe and then chases the lad around the lighthouse. Then the old man
accuses the young man of being mad, that weeks have gone by, and that he, the
young man, was chasing him, the old man, brandishing an axe.
The lad now thinks that the old man killed his second.
A big wave breaks the window and floods the room.
The storm ends but now their room is flooded. The lad finds the log where
the old man has written that all sort of lies about him, the lad. While the
lad was working hard around the lighthouse, the old man was writing that
he was lazy and even suggested he be terminated with no pay.
The lad loses control. First he breaks a wallclock with his fist, getting
injured, and then he attacks the old man to be allowed inside the lantern
room. They fight on the floor. The lad beats the old man viciously. He sees
the mermaid and sees an octopus-like monster. The lad now makes the old man
bark and crawl like a dog, drags him outside on a leash, and then pushes him into a pit, and buries him
alive. The old man keeps reciting poetry while the dirt is covering his face.
The lad takes the keys and walks towards the stairs to the lantern room but
the old man reappears brandishing the axe. The lad avoids the hit and instead
kills the old man with the same axe.
The lad finally climbs to the lantern room and can admire the light, but he
starts screaming as if he has seen something horrible. He falls back and rolls
down the steps. He is lying naked on the cliff, barely breathing, while
seagulls peck at his belly.
(Translation by/ Tradotto da xxx) |
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