The Lighthouse – Film Review

It had only been a few minutes but the sound of the lighthouse was already stuck in my head along with the whooshing of the ferocious gray sea that covered the screen. “The Lighthouse” is a film by director Robert Eggers, whose previous project was the acclaimed 2015 film, “The Witch”. In this film, Eggers presents a story that can be classified as a thriller although it incorporates fantastical and surreal elements. Wake (Willem Dafoe) and Winslow (Robert Pattinson) are two lighthouse workers who arrive at a small desolate rock for four weeks. They are to live together in a tiny shack, while Winslow is in charge of the chores. The resulting dynamic of these two very different lighthouse workers living in the confines of a small house surrounded by the sea is one of constant tensions and arguments. 

Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe are problematic roommates who eventually bond over alcohol and over the dreadful weather that hits their tiny piece of land. Slowly but surely, Winslow starts a descent into madness that is made believable through Pattinson’s ability to completely let himself go through the performance. Dafoe is no exception as his look of an old sailor with some serious issues regarding his bond to the light adds to the overall somber atmosphere. The black and white cinematography and the movie being shot in square format creates a claustrophobic feeling, where there is no room for extra details. The contrast created allows the viewer to see every tiny detail and crevice in the actor’s faces. These dramatic compositions evoke german expressionism through the use of deep shadows and distorted images that create a nightmarish feeling. Sound is another element that stands out in the movie. There is clear attention to detail as many of the sound effects not only function as a mere background but allows the audience to feel part of the setting. The low and deep sounds of the lighthouse, the sea and sometimes, even the sound of screaming, will leave your ears ringing.

Once again, Eggers uses an animal as an ominous symbol for impending doom. The seagull in “The Lighthouse” can be compared to Black Philip from “The Witch”, only this time with no words. There is also slight silliness throughout the whole movie, whether it is through humor related to bodily fluids or through the frantic drunk dancing and singing of Winslow and Wake. “The Lighthouse” takes itself a bit less seriously than the “The Witch” yet it still is able to create a feeling of dread. 

“The Lighthouse” is another production by A24, everyone’s favorite independent movie house. It was named Best Movie at the Cannes’ Critics Week and Directors’ Fortnight by the International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI). It also got some of the best reviews from the festival assuring once more A24’s vision for a good movie that is also a little bit creepy, interesting and completely fascinating. 

Read the review in Spanish here.


Knock Down The House or my addiction to U.S. politics

Originally published in

Knock Down The House, the documentary film following the primary campaigns of progressive Democrats Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Amy Vilela, Cori Bush, and Paula Jean Swearengin, was released on Netflix on May 1st, 2019. A few weeks prior, I watched the trailer on Facebook and was honestly very excited for its release. I had heard about AOC mainly through social media, and I instantly became a fan because of her tweets denouncing serious social and economic problems. For many, this might seem completely normal. I mean, what’s not to love about a film that shows how women are able to break boundaries and strive to make a change? The thing is, I started to realize that I had been actively consuming stories regarding U.S. politics for quite some time now while not even being an American.

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Mindhunter and our obsession with true crime

During the last few years (thanks to Netflix and the rise of podcasts) we have seen a notable increase in true crime content. Making a Murderer, The Confession Tapes, Casting JonBenet, Amanda Knox, are just a few of thousands of true crime productions that have managed to captivate audiences around the world. Mindhunter, from the producer and director David Fincher, is one of the most recent series of this genre. It came out on October 13th and easily gained a large audience. As of November 1st, the series has been approved for a second season. 

Playing detective

Mindhunter follows the story of the first FBI agents who took on a wide investigation about murderers such as Ed Kemper and Richard Speck in order to develop a psychological profile that would help understand and find similar criminals. The idea for the series came from a book with the same title that was written by one of the actual agents that came up with the term “serial killer”. 

Besides this series being praised for having a good story, good narrative and overall great character development, much of its attraction comes from it being a true crime show. In an interview for Times Magazine, David Fincher said that the success of true crime series and movies comes from the vision that we have of ourselves as detectives. We are deeply interested in this genre because we easily fall into a game of trying to decipher clues and then become addicted to the emotion of finding out what “really happened”.

Mindhunter: serial killers plus a great story = not so guilty pleasure

The certain thing is that Mindhunter makes a great job at reuniting all of America’s most famous serial killers and then focusing on the actual procedures behind their classifications, their investigations and so on. By taking a step back from the crimes themselves, we can see how culture starts to change as these types of crimes happen more and more often in the ’60s. Mindhunter does a great job at taking advantage of the true crime genre, while not leaving behind the importance of great storytelling. 

Of course, it is also our morbid fascination with obscure and sometimes disturbing topics that make us drawn to true crime. For many, learning about serial killers falls in the category of looking at videos of traffic accidents or natural disasters. We just can’t look away. Mindhunter and in general, all series of this genre are often “guilty pleasures”. We know that it is wrong to be entertained and excited about murderers that committed atrocities. After all, these are real tragedies that happened to real people. 

Edit 2019: 

Almost two years later, the second season of Mindhunter is about to be released on August 16.