Movie Review: THE LIGHTHOUSE (2018)

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Director Chris Crow (Devil's Brigade, A Viking Saga) and writers Paul Bryant (Quest for the Beast) & Michael Jibson, in his writing debut, craft a harrowing tale of psychological horror in the BAFTA winning film THE LIGHTHOUSE. Starring Michael Jibson (Flyboys, Les Miserables, The Alienist) and Mark Lewis Jones (Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Master and Commander, Game of Thrones) as Thomas Howell and Thomas "Tom" Griffith, respectively, this film is based on The Smalls Island Incident of 1801. An island formed almost entirely of rocks 25 miles from Marloes Peninsula in Pembrokeshire, Wales, it is home to only a lighthouse, and a rather rickety one at that. 

In the film, and also in reality, Thomas Howell and Tom Griffith were charged with "keeping the light". In 1801, most international travel and commerce required ships and as electric light bulbs weren't invented for another 78 years, this meant that crews were required to live in the lighthouse to make sure that the gaslight beacons were lit and to keep boats from accidnetally hitting land in foggy conditions. Thomas Howell is the younger of the two light-keepers, a religious, amiable fellow by all appearances, often seen reading his bible. Tom Griffith is the one out of these two gentleman who definitely appears more "seaworthy". He's a ruddy boisterous man's man with a commanding presence. 

The two were meant to watch over Smalls Island for 30 days, but just a couple of days before they're supposed to be relieved of duty, a massive storm comes over the area; a storm so bad that no one can come to retrieve the two Thomas's. Food and fresh water are running out, and so is the two men's sanity. A frightening glimpse into the horrors of isolation, THE LIGHTHOUSE is an intelligent interpretation of true events that warns even the best of us are susceptible to insanity, and that guilt will drive us to the farthest reaches of our capabilities. 

The film is essentially a "bottle episode", never really veering away from the lighthouse or the surrounding beach. It manages to entertain despite the lack of setting changes. The acting and writing are superb. I implore lovers of historical fiction, BBC dramas, as well as lovers of Moby Dick and The Shining to give this film a watch. Having already been released in the UK, it will have its time to shine in US theaters and VOD July 6th. 

Lorry Kikta

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