Robert Eggers

Best films:
, /10

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 and salvation.

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.
(Copyright © 2019 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )
(Translation by/ Tradotto da xxx)

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