The Lighthouse is a 2018 period piece thriller directed by Chris Crow, written by Paul Bryant, Chris Crow and Michael Jibson. The film stars Mark Lewis Jones as Thomas Griffiths and Michael Jibson as Thomas Howell. This tale of two Thomas’ lights up a dark film.
The plot revolves around two men. Thomas Howell(Jibson), a recently religious man after his mistake cost the lives of six men, and Thomas Griffiths(Jones), a man who lost his family and spends his time bare knuckle boxing. It is their shift at Smalls Lighthouse, a small lighthouse on a tiny island. Their time is spent between operating the lighthouse and trying to pass the time. A storm rolls in cause both men to reexamine their lives, what is left of them while running out of food.
The Movie (3.5/5)
Overall the film feels very authentic. The scenery, the costumes, the acting all feels like it is right out of the 1800s, when the film takes place. Only one scene towards the end looks out of place or faked. Besides the one scene, the rest of the film feels like an accurate representation of the time. The location of the small island feels like a character all its own. A tiny rock island with a small lighthouse that feels isolated beyond the norm. Jibson and Jones do an good job at interacting and playing their parts as men on the verge of mental breakdown.
The film walks the line between supernatural thriller and just thriller. Some supernatural elements turnout to be dreams or the mind playing tricks on the characters. The storm and the fog that precedes the storm bring the sense of foreboding to an all time high. These effects also look real, which makes the world feel more real. Other elements are introduced to add a little mystery to the thriller. A mysterious box is pulled out of a wall by Griffiths that leads to a turning point in the film.
A major downside of the film, that also hampers many period pieces, is the pacing. The characters are often just sitting trying to pass the time or having a conversation. While this helps show the feeling of isolation from the rest of the world, it does feel grating when they have a repeat conversation. The middle of the film is the real dragging point. The storm has set in and the two Toms end up arguing about religion, a one sided argument that they had already had. With only two characters to be the focus of the film it is hard not to have dead time with a run time of an hour and a half.
Some Extra Thoughts: Very bleak. Last 30 minutes are watching a man go insane. Goes from beating one another to drinking together. Hard to tell at the end what is real and what is a dream. A lot of time spent just hanging out, which builds atmosphere but drags. Lots of shouting about God and why he sucks. Can’t tell it actually based on a true story or pretending to be based on a true story. Solid ending, protects the idea might not just be isolation on that island, might be hell.
The sound design of the movie is very good. The sounds of the storm and the wind are really well done. It feels like the filming took place during an actual storm. It is especially impressive when both characters are outside in the wind and the rain. Their shouts are understandable, while still hearing the loud roar of the wind. There isn’t much music, but the two main characters do sing at one point and do a fantastic job together. They did a fine job singing a drinking song and actually looked liked they enjoyed themselves while doing it. Sound effects with the wood of the lighthouse, like the creaking in the floor or the slamming of wooden doors was good and felt consistent with a storm raging outside.
The Lighthouse is a solid period piece that sets the mood and atmosphere up extremely well. While the film may drag for many contemporary movie goers, fans of historical dramas and thrillers will certainly enjoy this one.