The Lighthouse review – inner demons get lost in the fog

This period chiller starring Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe sacrifices storyline for atmosphere In conjuring mood, atmosphere and mounting tension, American writer-director Robert Eggers is a skilful craftsman. Following his taut 2015 debut feature, The Witch , cult indie production company A24 has given him carte blanche and, to his credit, Eggers hasn’t held back. A spooky, late-Victorian period piece, shot in black and white on location in Nova Scotia, this two-hander features Willem Dafoe as bossy, flatulent lighthouse keeper Thomas Wake, and Robert Pattinson as his younger, more taciturn apprentice, Ephraim Winslow. The island’s quirks include appalling weather, a belligerent seagull, and a stash of kerosene for when the rum runs dry. A perfect storm for a descent into madness. There are striking details and images to admire, such as the film’s use of the 1.19:1 Movietone ratio, recalling the square framing of early sound movies, or Pattinson’s oil-slicked cheekbones blanched to blinding white. Yet