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A Lighthouse Review

Updated on March 16, 2021
Aaron James Skull profile image

Real name Aaron James Hills, I love to write and express my opinion through fiction and non-fiction.

Summary: The Lighthouse is a well made film but it's story and plot leave a lot to be desired.
Summary: The Lighthouse is a well made film but it's story and plot leave a lot to be desired.

"A Special Effect Without A Story Is A Pretty Boring thing" - George Lucas

The film starts by showing a ship landing on an island with a lighthouse; we see a crew unloading supplies, then we are stuck with our two protagonists. The film was originally based on a short story by Edgar Allan Poe; however, it quickly diverged into an HP Lovecraft story but without any competent writing to subtly instill deep fear, dread, and suspense in the audience that Lovecraft was known for. Thus spitting on two great American writers with one swift but very dull stroke.


This film may be better than the Twilight films that one of the actors is infamous for, but that's not saying much. It is competently shot but incompetently written; the story isn't there, just the remnants of one. The Film thinks by showing the viewer some dark images like dead birds, a man masturbating and turning into a sea monster, and a mermaid cloaca that it's somehow smart and too intellectual for anyone to understand. When in reality, the film is incoherent save for some decent early dialogues between Dafoe and Pattinson. And then an ending that tries to convey something but actually says nothing and shows nothing either.

Condescension and Pretension

"The Lighthouse," It May Look Good But, Without an Engaging Story it's A Pretty Boring Thing

'The Lighthouse' may be a competently shot film with some great cinematography, but the story has a lot to be desired. But like my grandpa always said, "No matter how much you polish it, a turd is still a turd." The film is edited incoherently; just because the film is about insanity is no reason to forgo logic in storytelling and make it an incompetent mess. Not only do the filmmakers make a wildly incoherent jumbled up mess, but they also ruin classic American literature by basing this film off of a short story by Edgar Allan Poe. Then because they found out their movie made no sense, they decided to step away from the source material and add mermaids and tentacles for no rhyme or reason.


The filmmakers try to evade criticism under the thin veil of pretentious filmmaking, who even admit they had no idea what they were doing. However, it reeks of mediocrity and pretentious filmmaking. The director was formerly a low-rate film designer. The director knows nothing or very little about writing a coherent story, only understanding how to make a pretty picture that is ultimately hollow and empty.


This film feels like a B- first-year film school student film, nonetheless with some first-rate acting by its lead actors, especially Dafoe, however that performance still fails to redeem this film. Everything is made to seem as more important than it is from the use of a small 1.19:1 ratio to it in being black and white and the lack of any meaning in the plot beyond "two guys are stuck in a lighthouse, and wacky shenanigans go on" and then "everyone dies the end."


In conclusion, 'The Lighthouse' has gorgeous cinematography and one great performance by one of its leading actors Willem Dafoe; Robert Pattinson sucks. He was bad in Twilight, bad in this film, and next, he's going to be a bad Batman. However, I am sorry to say that in this film, there is not much worthy of praise in this tale of isolation and madness. Some moments stand out above the rest, but overall the film is ruined by its weak narrative structure, lack of sustained tension or suspense, and weirdness for the sake of being weird. What a shame because Pattinson's and Dafoe's great performance is wasted on this ambitious and well shot but tedious and amateurish picture.

(subtitle paraphrased from George Lucas from the "Star Wars to Jedi" documentary)

This film Summated in 46 seconds

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