Robert Eggers is back at it again, with another grim-looking period piece in glorious black and white. The trailer oozes with foreboding and brooding melancholy and stars Willem Dafoe and Robert (Batman) Pattinson.
The director of the love-it-or-hate-it somber and meticulously crafted film The Witch (or as is spelled out The VVitch). Eggers injected The Witch with an artisan level of attention, using natural lighting, period-appropriate clothing, and even going to the effort to have the characters speak in 17th century Ye Olde English, making you wish on occasion that there were subtitles available. Fast forward to the comparably more contemporary 1880s, the context for his latest effort, The Lighthouse. And, it’s clear from the trailer that Eggers has brought the same level of attention to detail with this offering. And, he’s de-saturated the hue of the film one step beyond the fairly monochromatic Witch by going full-on black and white.
Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson are two lighthouse keepers who get stranded together in a Nova Scotia island lighthouse, and the madness sets in, with the isolation. The two of them argue, clash, huddle against storms, sing sea chanties, witness mermaids, and battle tentacled monstrosities from the deep. According to IMDb, the film is loosely based on a real-life tale of two Welsh Lighthouse Keepers stranded at their Lighthouse in 1801.
The movie has been getting a little extra buzz because Pattinson has been cast as the new Batman, and this is his first big feature since getting cast in the big franchise role, and this is a chance for him to show his indie cred and cast aside the preconceived notions of his Twilight background. He is a serious actor and is one of those handsome actors who is willing to immerse himself in a really grimy role. As such, this movie might be able to surprisingly have a bigger box office draw than was originally anticipated. Willem Dafoe is the perfect craggy salty dog and looks and sounds like an old Lighthouse keeper, you can almost see the barnacles in his beard.
To be honest I’m not sure what “Why’d ya spill yer beans?” means… but it’s repeated often in this trailer. I’m dying to know what Dafoe means. Once again Eggers has his immersed the dialogue in heavily affected mariner drawls. And, once again, I think having subtitles wouldn’t hurt! I am not 100 percent sure that it actually is “Why’d ya spill yer beans?” despite how often the line is repeated.
The Lighthouse has been rated R for sexual content, nudity, violence, tentacled monsters, and some salty dog language. It debuted at the Cannes film festival and currently has a glowing early Metacritic score of 91, which just goes to show that A24 knows how to please critics. Their art-house original content from Ex Machina to Hereditary to the Witch to Moonlight to Room to Eighth Grade will tell you the quality of product that they put out. A24 thrives on high concept projects with auteur directors, and though not a guarantee, it bodes well for this feature.
It is due for wide release on October 18, 2019.
For the record, The Scariest Things loved The Witch.