This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
RebelCommander’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
As soon as I saw the change of aspect ratio I knew this would be a film dealing with solitary conditions for the subjects involved. Initially, I thought there would be no dialogue considering the way the film opens. But Robert Pattinson and
Willem Dafoe both convey the psychological pressure that would be placed on two men left alone on an island where all types of trouble can come their way. While the filmmaker isn't explicit concerning what types of things trouble these men, the possibilities that are given to the audience leave us to draw our own conclusions.
I don't think that the fact this film isn't conclusive concerning what troubles these men though is bad. In life, we can have a multitude of conditions that can motivate us to act in certain ways as the keepers of the lighthouse do. Then when paranoia meets fear, a person's mind becomes free to roam across all types of possibilities. So while the filmmaker does present us a range of possibilities to consider, I find it is truer to life that you can't just isolate on just one.
I think films that narrow the focus on one or two characters within a singular setting have ways of opening up a rich set of possibilities to take the audience into new themes to explore. Many of the films made seem to follow similar formulas. The suspense in The Lighthouse constructed a concern for where a scene is going to take you. Sometimes that feeling of uncertainty can be scarier than the thing that pops out of nowhere to spook you.
Dialog driven films are underappreciated, and while this film is solely built on dialogue reducing the film's screen space, characters, and setting to the minimum number helped to construct a great film.