Hate on the Rocks 

'The Lighthouse' is a thrilling, modern classic that opens at The Flicks Friday, Oct. 25

click to enlarge lighthouse-courtesy-a24.jpg

Courtesy A24

Full disclosure: I'm not among the throngs of moviegoers who rush to see a horror film. I'm a... what's that word? Oh yeah, I'm a wuss. I'll confess to shading my eyes anytime someone loses an appendage to a movie madman. And if a film portends an increasing sense of dread that something wicked this way comes (particularly in a slasher movie), I'll make haste to the nearest concession stand—it's amazing how some Goobers can calm the nerves. All that said, I take a backseat to no one in my admiration for a genuinely thrilling film that offers equal measures of meaning and mayhem. Among my favorites are The Heiress, Rosemary's Baby, Silence of the Lambs, nearly anything by Alfred Hitchcock and, most recently, The Witch. The latter was a critical and box office success soon after it emerged from the 2015 Toronto Film Festival. The debut film vaulted writer/director Robert Eggers to be considered one of the most exciting contemporary auteurs in cinema. And I'm happy... nay, thrilled to report that Eggers' follow-up, The Lighthouse, is another modern classic. If The Witch was Eggers' take on the so-called "dark feminine" in its exploration of the witch archetype, The Lighthouse examines the dark impulses of hardscrabble men embroiled in a complex game of power dynamics while encased in a lighthouse. As Eggers said at the film's North American premiere during this year's edition of TIFF, "Nothing good can happen when two men are left alone in a giant phallus."

Building on the breakout success of The Witch, Eggers returns to his native New England for The Lighthouse, shifting the former's setting from 17th-century rural life to the latter's maritime world of the late 19th century. In his new story—as much metaphor as mystery—Eggers evokes a wide range of influences, from Herman Melville to Stanley Kubrick, while producing something that is completely his own unique creation.

Set on a remote island off the coast of New England, two lighthouse keepers (Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson), trapped and isolated due to a seemingly never-ending storm, engage in an escalating battle of wills, as tensions boil over and mysterious forces (which may or may not be real) loom all around the "phallus" that is their lighthouse. It features many of the same talented craftspeople that brought The Witch to life—including cinematographer Jarin Blaschke, production designer Craig Lathrop, costume designer Linda Muir, composer Mark Korven, and editor Louise Ford. Sorry, no spoilers here, but all in, The Lighthouse is a terrifying, transportive journey into the unknown.

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The Lighthouse
Rated R · 110 minutes · 2019
Official Site: a24films.com/films/the-lighthouse
Director: Robert Eggers
Producer: Youree Henley, Lourenço Sant' Anna, Rodrigo Teixeira, Jay Van Hoy, Arnon Milchan, Yariv Milchan, Michael Schaefer, Josh Peters, Isaac Ericson, Sophie Mas, Caito Oritz, Chris Columbus and Eleanor Columbus
Cast: Robert Pattinson, Willem Dafoe and Valeriia Karaman

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