Oscar nominee The Lighthouse stars Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe as salty 'wickies' at odds

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From the director of cult favourite The Witch comes another New England-set nightmare, in which two lighthouse keepers locked in a bitter power struggle slowly unravel.

The full-throttle performances of Dafoe and Pattinson are also compelling, hurtling through unhinged aggression, drunken abandon and desperation.

Both performers, incidentally, talk in a kind of 19th-century seafarer's vernacular that's like something from a children's cartoon, but as the urgency of this increasingly hectic tale builds, the artifice dissolves into what feels like an authentic, forgotten dialect. People who saw The Witch will recognise Eggers's eye for gnarly, oddball period detail, not to mention his taste for the bizarre rituals and psychology of remote communities. This time around, the horror takes longer to manifest, but the supernatural element in The Lighthouse does eventually develop into something resembling a kind of allegorical fable, not unlike the cinema of Guillermo del Toro .

Human forms take unnatural shapes, a mermaid-like creature appears, and the wretched gulls become more and more assertive, their sinister presence bringing to mind that doomed seaside hamlet of Bodega Bay, from Hitchcock's The Birds.

 

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