The story takes place on a small isolated island in New England, the two main characters are the lighthouse keepers. Thomas Wake, played by veteran actor Willem Dafoe, is the older experienced keeper while Ephraim Winslow, played by Robert Pattinson, is the fresh off the boat rookie to the harsh life of lighthouse keeping. Wake lays down the ground rules of how things will be done and is insistent that Winslow is to stay away from the light room in the lighthouse.
As the story progresses, hints are revealed that something is eerie about the island. Wake gazes into the light and suddenly has no control over himself as if he is in a trance by its overwhelming power. Winslow finds a small carving of a mermaid giving him multiple visions of a siren. Later, the characters learn that the previous keeper quickly scattered after going mad from similar hallucinations. From this point on, the Hallucinations grow stronger and begin to blur the lines of reality.
The cinematography in The Lighthouse is odd compared to most modern films, being a black and white film already gives it an old aesthetic. In addition, the movie is filmed with 1.19:1 aspect ratio giving it a closer isolated feel. This feeling of separation is emphasized by being filmed on 35mm, enhancing the feeling of isolation and claustrophobia, only adding to the films mystic and dream like feel.
The movie wants to confuse us with scenes that portray the events one way then have us told it happened differently in the next one which gives a sense of uneasiness throughout the latter half of the film. With an intimate setting and lucrative storyline, The Lighthouse is by far one of the most interesting films of 2019 and a film that will only grow more popular with its strong cult like following.