May 20th, 2019 / 1 Comment


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“it’s the most ferocious acting of Pattinson’s career.” Variety

As usual, I am going to do a roundup of reviews coming out of Cannes initially (The Lighthouse is being called the hottest ticket in Cannes), but will update this post regularly as the film gets released. The reviews will focus on Rob’s performance, but if he’s not mentioned (which will be ridiculous for this film), then I’ll give an overall review of the film. NOTE: Some reviews may contain ***spoilers*** so read at your own peril. I’ll try to keep out the spoilers in the extracts below.


The Cool

IndieWire (Directors’ Fortnight Cannes)

The movie provides a welcome platform for these actors to unleash their wildest abilities: Pattinson spends the first half sulking around, his eyes darting every which way as he attempts to make sense of his dreary surroundings. But when the material calls for him to unleash his fury, his eyes bulge and his body quakes in a pure show of physical intensity. It’s the sort of showboating the actor tends to avoid, but this histrionic material gives him the ideal excuse to lash out, and with winning results. 

The Wrap (Directors’ Fortnight Cannes)

Both Pattinson and Dafoe seem to have a great time — you could not say as much for their characters, I suppose — letting madness take its toll, and both abide by the rule of “go big or go home.” Dafoe carries more of the dialogue for the first half, but Pattinson anchors things with a sturdy physical performance that will no doubt calm those concerned about a certain reported upcoming role.

When he does get to loosen to his tongue, the actor tears into his lines with scenery-chewing glee, at one point delivering an invective- and insult-filled monologue that the Cannes audience greeted with mid-film cheers.

CineVue (Directors’ Fortnight Cannes)

Robert Pattinson proves himself once more to be a fearless character actor who brings a layered understanding to Winslow and does not hold back when the shit almost literally hits the fan.

The Daily Beast (Directors’ Fortnight Cannes)

Nevertheless, Dafoe and Pattinson ‘s performances are worth the price of admission. … Pattinson, in some respects, has the trickier role. He has to develop from a withdrawn young man into an embodiment of undiluted rage.

Collider (Directors’ Fortnight Cannes)

Pattinson has been working at seemingly the peak of his acting prowess over the past two years in films such as Good Time and High Life, but he may have topped himself here. Usually known for playing the strong, silent type, Pattinson portrays with deep seeded frustration below the surface until he slowly reaches a passionate roar. The 33-year-old actor has simply never been this raw on screen before. There are moments where Pattinson is so transformative it’s jarring. You simply never thought he had it in him.

Variety (Directors’ Fortnight Cannes) *SPOILERS*

As Ephraim, Pattinson gives an intensely physical performance, lugging around barrels of oil and shoveling coal, dangling from a treacherous pulley as he whitewashes the lighthouse’s tall brick exterior (the entire structure was built for the film, though you’d swear it’s an actual lighthouse that’s been around for 150 years). … Pattinson can be a recessive actor, and for a while here, in his droopy mustache, he seems to be playing one more low-key Pattinson drone. But the way “The Lighthouse” works, Willem Dafoe’s performance is a kind of taunt, and Pattinson, on the receiving end of it, rises to the occasion — when he spits out a speech about how sick he is of listening to the old man, it’s the most ferocious acting of Pattinson’s career. … As the movie goes on, his eyes begin to burn in their sockets.

Games Radar | Total Film (Directors’ Fortnight Cannes)

And it goes without saying that Dafoe and Pattinson are superb, running the gamut over the film’s two hours. Anyone perplexed by the idea of former Twilight star Pattinson potentially playing the Dark Knight need look no further for confirmation he could pull it off with ease.

THR (Directors’ Fortnight Cannes)

Dafoe is in his element, making drolly grandiloquent salty poetry from Wake’s old-timey dialogue, while Pattinson at first seems less confident, grappling with an erratic accent. But he grows steadily more commanding as Winslow, his true identity eventually revealed, stops acknowledging Wake’s authority. Both actors bring invigorating physicality to their performances, along with bracing shots of humor, 

The Guardian (Directors’ Fortnight Cannes)

… the performances from Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson have a sledgehammer punch – Pattinson, in particular, just gets better and better.

Screen Daily (Directors’ Fortnight Cannes)

The Lighthouse provides a marvellous chamber-drama platform for two actors, Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe, who seize the opportunity with gusto.

The Playlist (Directors’ Fortnight Cannes) *SPOILERS*

… lurching toward us out of the enveloping Cannes fog, comes the utterly fantastic “The Lighthouse,” starring a briny, rotten-toothed Willem Dafoe, a deranged, mustachioed Robert Pattinson and a one-eyed seagull so sinister at any moment we expect it to croak “Nevermore.”

Vulture (Directors’ Fortnight Cannes) *SPOILERS*

Pattinson’s entire performance is absolutely wild. It reminds me of Jack Nicholson in The Shining — ax wielding included!

First Showing (Directors’ Fortnight Cannes)

Honestly, this might be Robert Pattinson’s top performance yet. And it features the best B&W cinematography since Cold War, if not even better. There’s numerous iconic shots that will be singled out.

The Film Stage (Directors’ Fortnight Cannes)

There is also a rich authenticity and theatricality to the dialogue–which was surely painstakingly researched–that would have been somewhat lost were it not for the manner in which Pattinson and Dafoe deliver it … Some of Pattinson’s very best work has come in period pieces (The Childhood of a LeaderThe Lost City of ZQueen of The Desert, etc.); while his elocution isn’t quite on Dafoe’s level, what he lacks in that department he more than makes up for in his sheer manic physicality. To see him shovel coal into a furnace is to see the face of God. Yarrr.

Births.Deaths.Movies (Directors’ Fortnight Cannes)

Robert Pattinson, reestablishing for the tenth time that he’s his generation’s most exciting actor … Pattinson gives what just may be his best performance to date. Ephraim’s dialogue may not be as florid as Thomas’, but the toll that tending the lighthouse takes on him is an extremely physical one, and one Pattinson conveys by throwing himself into each expression and shift of muscle. His eyes grow feral and wide, made even larger by the black and white of the film, which spill like ink across the actors’ faces. When, at a pivotal moment, Ephraim simply begins to scream, the actor’s facial contortions seem to cause the whole frame of the film to shake.

Polygon (Directors’ Fortnight Cannes)

Pattinson and Dafoe pull off the dynamic, managing the remarkable feat of making a two-hour movie feel no sparser for having only two people in it.

Vanity Fair (Directors’ Fortnight Cannes)

Pattinson nonetheless does a breakneck expansion of his range. He’s so keyed into the manic energy and downright grossness of the film that watching him is like seeing a brand new actor, all the memories of the sexy sparkle vampire washed away in a briny gush. We’ve seen him do grimy before, in things like The Rover and Good Time (which both premiered at Cannes)—but this is something else altogether.

Irish Times (Directors’ Fortnight Cannes)

Pattinson (once again confirming his impeccable taste in scripts and directors) … Dafoe and Pattinson play off each other delightfully to create a closed-in conflict that Samuel Beckett would have savoured. Easily the best film this writer has seen at Cannes to this point.

Time Out (Directors’ Fortnight Cannes)

…  for many, Pattinson remains that guy from Twilight, despite sterling work with the likes of David Cronenberg, James Gray and Claire Denis. Those films showcased his talents, but Eggers draws something new from the actor. Pattinson’s performance will make you sit up in your seat.

Little White Lies (Directors’ Fortnight Cannes)

Pattinson, adding yet another killer credit to his enviable actor’s CV, more than holds his own as a man beaten down by his surroundings and his situation, and undone by isolation, desire and paranoia.

Times UK (Directors’ Fortnight Cannes)

Robert Pattinson’s performance is so strong that it makes you wonder whether he’s too good for Batman … Anyone with even a casual interest in independent cinema will have known that … Pattinson has become a formidable screen presence.

IonCinema (Directors’ Fortnight Cannes)

The power struggle between [Dafoes] Thomas Wake and Pattinson’s Ephraim recalls Melville’s Billy Budd, including some eventual homoerotic overtones well-played by both actors

Cinemayward (Directors’ Fortnight Cannes)

Indeed, both actors give some of the strongest performances of their already-laudable careers; … Pattinson gives an exemplary physical performance as he pushes wheelbarrows, shovels coal, and smokes incessantly on the wind- and rain-swept rock.

Daily Telegraph UK (Directors’ Fortnight Cannes)

And Pattinson gives a performance of such audacity and muscle that he recalls Daniel Day-Lewis in There Will Be Blood. That’s no comparison to make lightly, but everything about The Lighthouse lands with a crash. It’s cinema to make your head and soul ring.

Culture Whisper (Directors’ Fortnight Cannes)

How exciting it feels, at the same time, to witness Robert Pattinson grow easily into one of the very best actors of our generation with this role. His body glistens while his face blackens, as isolation takes its toll on Ephraim’s livelihood, and Pattinson thrillingly relishes his character’s unravelling. His bitterness is gleeful and truly frightening in turn, as the rookie worker has the greediness and wicked lechery to manipulate emotion with as little as a twitch – and never holds back.

Digital Fix (Directors Fortnight Cannes)

Pattinson, fast becoming one of the greatest actors working, strays further from his teen heartthrob days than ever before, channelling Klaus Kinski in his descent into madness, his facial expressions contorting into sheer hysteria at the tip of a hat. But it’s when the two actors are together that the film really shines

The Thrillist (Directors’ Fortnight Cannes)

Pattinson rises to the occasion, too, spitting archaic things like, “Bark, you dog!

Hey U Guys (Directors’ Fortnight Cannes)

Robert Pattinson shows that he is as deft at acting as he is at picking out interesting and unusual projects. Dafoe is at his peak and Pattinson just keeps getting better.

That Shelf (Directors’ Fortnight Cannes)

Watch Jason Gorber’s video review HERE

Pattinson … he’s been killing it. He keeps doing this wonderful weird quirky roles. … He absolutely nails this bizarre twisted character … He’s created a total character with what he’s done with his voice. .. Has established himself as an actor with an incredible range.

The Cruel

IonCinema (Directors’ Fortnight Cannes)

And yet, at times, the alliterative, verbose diatribes often seem rather out-of-character, particularly for Pattinson, who seems to have a hard time keeping track of his character’s accent.

  • sue
    Posted on May 20, 2019

    More brilliant reviews. It just keeps getting better …… of course, a trailer would just top it off *crosses fingers”

  • Leave a Reply



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