American Literary Review presents Grackles: Two editorial staffers squawk over a film.

Grackles review The Lighthouse

Directed by Robert Eggers

Reviewed by Scott Ray and Charlie Riccardelli 

The Lighthouse, Robert Egger’s follow-up to his widely celebrated premiere, The Witch, is a film about two “wickies”—lighthouse keepers on a remote island somewhere in New England around the turn of the nineteenth century. A spectacularly crusty Willem Dafoe plays the old-hand-keeper Wake, a former sailor who keeps the splendor of the top deck and actual light of the lighthouse all to himself, while forcing the brunt of the work of cleaning and maintenance on his new companion.  Robert Pattinson is Winslow, the new man on the job, having left work in Canada under dubious circumstances. The two live on the island completely isolated from the outside world and begin to struggle to keep their sanities in check. The intensity of the landscape, the bleak nature of the work, and the clash of personalities slowly builds in the movie until it becomes untenable for the two wickies and in turn the audience.

The earliest lighthouses were used as markers for ports, a signal to mariners indicating where to find safe harbor. Later, they were also used as a warning for ships to avoid reefs or dangerous rocks. The Lighthouse doesn’t function as a beacon of protection. It is a siren song luring the audience into its dangerous waters, completely engulfing the viewer in its claustrophobic, violent madness.

Scott Ray: One of things I most enjoyed about the fi