Story: A remote and mysterious New England island in the 1890s. The veteran lighthouse keeper Thomas Wake (Willem Dafoe) and his young assistant Ephraim Winslow (Robert Pattinson) live on that island in four weeks. Their goal is to keep the lighthouse in good condition until the relay arrives to allow them return to shore. But things get complicated when conflicts arise over hierarchies of power between the two of them.
Director: Robert Eggers.
Starring: Robert Pattinson, Valeriia Karaman, Willem Dafoe.
Genre: Drama, Fantasy, Horror, Mystery.
Title: The Lighthouse
If death pales with a sharp terror make the caves of the ocean our bed, and that God who hears the waves beat, deigns to save our supplicating soul.
It’s bad luck leaving an unfinished toast, boy.
– Still with a bad gesture?
– Find a little joy in you, boy. Now is the time for talk and chatter. You better enjoy it. Come in a fortnight and we both want to always be as quiet as a grave.
– What is the most terrible part of a sailor’s life? Don’t you wonder, boy? It is when work stops, when you are between the wind and the water. Headaches. Headaches.
More wicked than the Devil. Boredom turns men into villains, and the water runs fast, boy, it vanishes. The only medicine is drink. It keeps sailors happy, it keeps them nice, it keeps them calm, it keeps them …
– Than…? What caused your last guardian to leave?
– Abe? My second? Died. He went crazy, yes. Raving about mermaids, the newt, bad omens, and the like. In the end, he had no more sense than a goose tooth. He believed that there was some enchantment in the lighthouse. He realized that Saint Elmo had launched his own fire on him. It was salvation, he said.
I have seen you fight with a seagull. Better leave them alone. Bad luck killing a seabird.
-What’s that called?
– Sir? Than? I … I mopped and swept twice, sir.
– Liar dog.
– I swept them away.
– You’re lying in bed. Uncleaned, unwashed, and neglected.
– Have you become obsessed with abusing me?
– As you say?
– I already said …
– How dare you contradict me, dog?
– Now, look, I never intended to be a housewife, or a slave, by taking this job. Not well! These accommodations are more run-down than any boys’ camp I’ve ever seen. The Queen of England’s housekeeper could not do better than me. Because I tell you that I’ve already scrubbed this place here, twice, sir …
– And I say you didn’t do any of that. And I say clean it again, and you’ll clean it well, this time, and you’ll clean it 10 more times after that. And if I tell you to pick up and tear apart each plank of wood in this house and sweep it with your bleeding knuckles, you will! And if I tell you to rip every single nail out of every molded nail hole and suck every pinch of rust until all the nails shine like a sperm whale’s penis, then repair the entire lighthouse station again from scratch , and then doing it all over again, you will! And by God and most holy, you will do it smiling, boy, because you will like it. You will like it because I say it will! If you contradict me again, I will deduct it from your pay. Can you hear me boy
– Yes sir.
– Work, dog.
– What brought you to this Island, Ephraim Winslow? What did you work on before?
– Large logging. In the north. To the ways of Canada.
– The Hudson Bay team?
– The same.
– Is what they say true? Forests as far away as the eye can see?
– Yes sir. Fir, tamarind, white pine. The grove. As the people there call it.
– You got sick of the trees, didn’t you?
– Yes sir.
– I can’t say I blame you. I have heard of that life. Hard. They say that a man works harder than two horses. There is no thanks. The sea, that is the only situation worthy of me.
Now I am a guardian and a guardian I will be. And I am very married to this lighthouse here, and she has been a finer, truer and quieter wife than any bloody and very alive woman.
– Since we are becoming too friendly, Ephraim Winslow, tell me, what does a logger want with being a guardian? Isn’t there enough silence for you in the North? Did the sawdust sink deep into you? Did the foreman find you too temperamental to carry an ax?
– As you said, I’ve had enough of the trees, I guess. Ever since I left Dad, I’ve done all kinds of work that can pay a man. Something that I’m not even proud of.
– No, just … I can’t find a position where I can stand out, so I keep going. I am not one of those who look back at what is behind you.
– On the run?
– Why is killing a seagull unlucky?
– In them are the souls of the sailors who knew their creator.
– Well, I’ll say it … I may even miss you, Ephraim Winslow. You have become a true budding guardian, you are. I thought one night you would want to split my skull in two, but you are a good person. You’ll be working on a lighthouse in no time.
– Why haven’t I?
– In this lighthouse.
– I’m the guardian of this station, boy. At some other station, you can attend the lighthouse.
– The manual says …
– My record is the only book on this Island … I am the lighthouse keeper, boy, and I never let any man touch it … Don’t worry about the lighthouse, boy! It’s mine!
– It’s only been a day.
– The Devil’s tail. Look, maybe the storm came. We just missed it, that’s all.
– I can get the boat out.
– Weeks, Winslow. Weeks.
– What do you mean what?
– Weeks. Yes, weeks. We slept. We die from drunkenness. We haven’t seen her in weeks, Winslow. And I’ve also asked you for rations for weeks, but you’ve kept barking at me like a crazy dog, saying you can get the ship out.
– Not even the worst of us could defend against the ship rats, which gnawed at the soles of our feet. Its legs withered and became gangrenous, every shade of the peacock’s tail. Her gums swelled, the bone discolored, and then putrefaction came. Blood oozing from tar, teeth falling onto the deck, with nothing to hold on to. Land in sight, but only grass on that Island. So we stayed in the grass. And it was that scurvy that left me stranded ever since.
– I thought you said you broke it.
– Your leg. Catholic nuns and things like that.
– You must have misheard.
I want a damn steak! I … If I had a steak … Whoa! A … raw, bloody steak. If I … If I had a steak, I’d take it.
– I’m drunk?
– You heard me! You’ve been drunk since …
– Dammit! Drunk since I first saw you. But if you like my lobster, right?
– You’re drunker than a virgin vagina.
– I have seen it. You like my lobster. Say it. Say it. Say it!
– I don’t have to say anything.
– Dammit! Let Neptune kill you, Winslow! Listens! Listen, Triton, listen! Scream, tell our father, the King of the sea, to rise from the depths, with all his fury, and with black waves full of salt foam, to suffocate this young mouth with spicy slime, to drown him, fattening his organs, until it turns blue and swollen, with the bilge and the brine and can no longer scream. Only when he is crowned in cockleshells, with his tentacled tail slipping and his beard steaming, does he take up his fallen, finned arm, his screams of coral trident,
and in the storm, and they plunge through your throat, it broke, leaving a bulging bladder and no more, but now it’s a damn burden, a nothing for the harpies and the souls of dead sailors, to peck, scratching and feeding, only to be sneaked and swallowed by the infinite waters of the fearsome Emperor himself, forgotten by any man, at any time,
Forgotten of any God or Devil, forgotten even by the sea, anything or part of Winslow, even any remnant of his soul, is no longer Winslow, but now he is himself the sea.
– It’s okay. As you like. I like your kitchen.
You’re not even human anymore. Working apart from people for so long. You are only tolerable when you are drunk.
– It’s Thomas.
– No, I … I’m Thomas.
– I’m Thomas. You are Ephraim.
– lied. Well, I was spoiled. I’m Thomas. Tommy.
– Tommy Winslow.
– No. Tom Howard.
– And Winslow?
– Is nothing.
– I can trust in you?
– Don’t tell me your secrets. I’m not interested.
Your guilty conscience is always tiresome like boredom … like any guilty conscience.
I just stayed there, that’s all. Just … just watching the logs swallow him. And all I could think of when it was over was, I … I could use a cigarette. That is all.
– Do not leave Me!
– Crazy son of a bitch! You smashed the lifeboat!
– You are leaving your post!
– What are you going to do? Send for the lighthouse authorities?
– Sure, I say! I’ll report it, bring the inspector …
– I will denounce you! I know what you have done!
– Who will report to whom? Ephraim Winslow? Or Thomas Howard?
– I know what you’ve done. You killed your second. Your one-eyed young man. I found it. In the lobster pot. Did you say he went crazy? You drove him crazy with that amulet! That trinket carved in ivory, but I already broke it, you see. You see? I’m free now. I am free of your designs! And I have everything solved, except for the bad secret you keep … Up there!
– Jesus, Mary and Joseph, Tommy. You made a confession last night, which could be an oath of Holiness. I have nothing to confess, but you, spilling your beans, look at what he has done to you. It has made you crazy! And I knew you were crazy, when you trashed that lifeboat a little while ago, chasing me with an ax, trying to kill old Tom. Don’t you trust me, Tommy? Better pass me the dinner knife you put in your pocket. You are not safe with that. You’re a nice guy. They are owned by the Government. Deducted from your pay. See how you tremble. You are so crazy, that you no longer know what is above or what is below. How long have we been on this Island? Five weeks? Two days? Where we are? Help me remember, who are you again, Tommy? I’m probably a product of your imagination. This Island is a product of your imagination, too. You’re probably wandering through an alder grove, up north in Canada, like a frozen maniac talking to yourself, knee-deep in snow.
– I’m tired of your damn silly tales … and your Captain Ahab shit. You sound like a damn parody. Giving orders and scolding like a single school mother, and all the weather has returned to this station, the Devil’s Rum Hole.
– You make a fool of yourself.
– Well, it’s all shit, your leg, and your marine life, all of it! And if I hear one more shit word, coming out of your disgusting and rotten tooth, in that stinking mouth …
– yeah …
– Shut up, damn it! I have not finished! Do you think you’re so damn tall and powerful just because you’re a damn lighthouse keeper? Well, you are not the Captain of any ship and you never were! You are not a General, you are not a Policeman, you are not the President, and you are not my dad! And I’m sick of you acting like you are! I’m sick of your laughs, your snoring, and your damn farts. Your damn … Damn your farts! You smell like pee, you smell like semen, like rotten dick, like curdled foreskin, as if warm onions had been taken from a farm shit. And I’m sick of your smell. I’m fed up! I’m sick, you fucking drunk. Damn, without accountability, son of a bitch, lying bastard! That’s what you are! You’re a damn, drunk, shitting like horses, dwarf, fucking liar. Liar!
– You have a word ability, Tommy.
– You are relieved of your obligations.
– You don’t need to tell me, old friend. The assistant fell asleep late. Work below standard. Hostile attitude. Wizard disappeared. Delivered to habitual self-abuse in the supply shed. Drunk on duty! Assault! Stole! I recommend compensation without payment. Compensation without payment? Are you trying to ruin me? I’m very hardworking. I am. I work as hard as any man.
– You’re lying, Thomas.
– You lie to yourself, but you don’t have the courage to see it.
– Please … Just let me into the lighthouse, old man. I have learned a lot from you. Just let me show you. Another chance. Forgive and forget, I say. Just let me get into that flashlight, that’s all. Don’t make me beg … Or I’ll beg you. I will beg, if that’s what you want. I will beg you. Please! Please! Please! Please!
– Look at you, handsome boy, with bright eyes like a lady. You come to this Island playing hard. You make me laugh with your false complaints. You pretend to have some mystery in your silences, but there is no such mystery. You are an open book. A painting, I say. A painted actress screaming at the edges, a slut who wants to be condemned, for nothing more than to be born, crying for the silver spoon of what it should have been. Now watch how you cry. Bu! Bu! What are you going to do? Will you kill me You will do it? Will you kill me, as you did with that seagull?
– I did not do it…
– Liar! Killer dog! It was you who drew the wind upon us. It was you who condemned us, dog. Was you! Will you do to me what you wanted to do to old Winslow? Will you surpass me then? Because Winslow was right! Thomas, if you are a dog! A filthy dog! A dog!
– Want to see what’s in the flashlight? So did my last assistant.
– Shut up, old dog!
– To polish brass. Or the protean forms that swim from the minds of men, and merge into the hot Promethean looting, with burning eyes, with divine shame and horror … And they are thrown before Davy Jones. The others are still blind, however, in him seeing, all divine graces and Fiddler’s Green will be sent, where no man is allowed to suffer or covet, but is … Ancient … Multiple and invariable, like the shadow that goes around the world. It’s true. You will be punished.
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