The Lighthouse (a review / and why I love indie movies)

Give me a black and white horror film. Give me something different and new, but familiar enough that I can understand and relate to it.

I crave metaphor, gorgeous lighting, honest but unpredictable dialogue and plots.

Action is a necessity.

Modern Hollywood films have dropped the ball here. The Disney takeover has produced countless formulaic comic book movies that draw popular nerds to story lines that have been faded and shoved into a predictable box. But “the dialogue is so witty!”

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Traditional comic lovers can smell a phony from a mile away. (Maybe that’s why Joker has done so well. It’s true in its classic authenticity, but still feeds the pedophilic Hollywood meat grinder).

So what is a movie lover to do?

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How can those seeking something new and interesting possibly enjoy the silver screen?

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The same thing those of us who don’t buy into gimmicky books like 50 Shades or the latest modern version of a classic story gone ~woke~, do. Support the independent market.

It’s no secret that mainstream art has gotten lazy.

Instead of focusing on the skills, style, and technique of an artist everything is about the NAME, the BRAND. That may work for now, but it’s catching up to us one hype at a time.

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I’m a writer and an editor, so I can sit here and pick everything apart because it’s my job. I’ll admit that my eye is more fine-tuned than the average story seeker. But my criticisms of Hollywood and storytelling are very valid. People will eventually get sick of seeing the same concept rebranded for the thousandth time. It’s a cycle. We love to build things up, but eventually they get old, and the mundane is not good enough for true art.

New perspectives are what define periods and eras, not gender swaps and fairy tales gone wrong.

Luckily, no matter how corporatized and money grubbing these industries become, there will always be the true talents who shine through.

Robert Eggers and his film The Lighthouse are a perfect example of this.

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The trailer and interviews automatically intrigued me. I felt like I had finally found a new movie worth paying to see.

Instead of going through some big studio and watching his vision get destroyed by big business tactics, Eggers went the indie route. He picked up two highly talented actors, specifically made for the roles, and utilized his fresh take to create a haunting film that stays with the viewer long after the curtains close.

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The Lighthouse is clearly influenced by Hour of the Wolf by Ingmar Bergman, and even has a few elements of the Hitchcock classic, The Birds. But instead of taking the nostalgia porn route, it veers in a new direction that inspires laughter and terror in a thrilling sea storm of emotions.

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It is a true cabin fever tale with mystical elements. Masculine horror oozes from this story. (Ladies can enjoy the brute strength and vitality of these crazy men if they are not threatened by male driven story lines, and if they are, this movie wasn’t made for them. I ate it up with my popcorn.) The dynamic of the old light keeper verses the mysterious new youth displays a classic battle over territory, superstition, and the quest for brotherly love.

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The cinematography is far superior to anything that has been displayed in recent years. One specific shot of the moonlight on the water had me leaning forward and gaping into the glow with Robert Pattinson’s character.

Your Spontaneous Screenwriter

Willem Dafoe’s monologues made my eye twitch in the best way possible. I want to memorize and act out every word he spewed forth.

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There has been a lot of talk about the dialect. Less literary individuals will struggle with some of the language, but the words are not needed to follow and enjoy the movie. For those of us well-versed in classic literature─especially of the seafaring variety─everything (but a little drunken singing) comes through quite clearly.

I was highly impressed by the undertones of chemical dependency and its dangers as well as the seagull lore. Birds have historically represented hope and faith. Eggers took this ideal and twisted it in such a way as to shake that foundation from the bottom up.

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So what does it all mean?

It means whatever you want it to, but mainly that you should get off your asses and go see this film.

Let the light draw you in.

5 thoughts on “The Lighthouse (a review / and why I love indie movies)

  1. foodinbooks says:

    Great review. I admit I was of two minds to see this film, but I love the outré, in film as much as in books, so i think I’ll be going to see it. It looks fascinating, and anything that doesn’t fit into the traditional Hollywood mold is A-ok in my book.

      1. foodinbooks says:

        Oh good! There are so few truly great films out there. Most of them are total crap. A really good and creepy one that I just saw this weekend is called Midsommar. Check it out. Very well done.

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