The Lighthouse Blu-ray Review

Two lighthouse keepers try to maintain their sanity while living on a remote and mysterious New England island in the 1890s. Ralph Potts reviews the Blu-ray release of The Lighthouse from Lionsgate Home Entertainment.

The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )

Film:

Extras:

Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )

89

Details:

Studio and Year: Lionsgate – 2019
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 109 minutes
Genre: Drama

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC
Video Aspect: 1.19:1
Resolution: 1080p/24

Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Starring: Willem DaFoe, Robert Pattinson
Directed by: Robert Eggers
Music by: Mark Korven
Written by: Robert Eggers, Max Eggers
Region Code: A

Release Date: January 7, 2020

“There’s Enchantment in the Light”

Synopsis:

“Two lighthouse keepers try to maintain their sanity while living on a remote and mysterious New England island in the 1890s.” – Lionsgate Home Entertainment

My Take:

Co-written by director Robert Eggers, The Lighthouse tells the hypnotic and hallucinatory tale of two lighthouse keepers (Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson) on a remote and mysterious New England island in the 1890s. As an approaching storm threatens to sweep them from the rock and strange apparitions emerge from the fog, each man begins to suspect that the other has become dangerously unmoored.

The Lighthouse is a small film in terms of scope, relying on its subject matter and two cast members to drive its thematic and thought-provoking themes. It is a psychological thriller from a synthesized plot drawn from the innate dangers to the mind that can occur as a result of isolation. It is a period film that eschews typical genre tropes via a dark and sometimes creepy tale that focuses on the plight of two very different men that fall victim to what lies beneath (that is meant to be ambiguous). In that regard it works pretty well as we see the evolution of the relationship between the two men shift from one of normalcy to dark inevitability.

This is an eclectic film, set to a slow burn of a story with a series of eyebrow raising moments that will occasionally have viewers squirming in their seats. I liked the plot, the foundation that established the characters and, the use of folklore that slowly peeled back the layers, picking away at the sanity of the younger man, played by Robert Pattinson.

I felt that the building up of the elements regarding the undisclosed mystery involving the light was underdone which impacted the transference depicted later in the story. The period dialect was difficult to understand at times which didn’t help (activating the subtitles took care of that). At the conclusion there were unanswered questions seemingly left up to supposition/interpretation. Sometimes that is fine but, here, I would have preferred better delineation between what was real and, potentially, what wasn’t. The performances between Willem DaFoe and Robert Pattinson were simply off the charts, especially for DaFoe, who could easily win an Academy Award for this. I also liked the production style which underscored the film’s thematic tone and narrative elements.

I think The Lighthouse has merit as its dark, foreboding and bizarre tale has the potential for interesting coffee table discussion. For me, it just didn’t resonate as completely as I’d hoped. I would like to give it another try to see if a second viewing bears fruit. For now, I have to stick to my initial reaction to it which would be best described as lukewarm.

Replay Value:

Parental Guide:

The rating is for sexual content, nudity, violence, disturbing images, and some language.

AUDIO/VIDEO – By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**

Audio: 88
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Dynamics: 
  • Low frequency effects: 
  • Surround Sound presentation: 
  • Clarity/Detail: 
  • Dialog Reproduction: 
  • DSU/DTS Neural:X Rating * (non-rated element): NA

Video: 90
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Resolution/Clarity: 
  • Black Level/Shadow Detail: 
  • Color Reproduction: 
  • Fleshtones:
  • Compression: 

The Lighthouse comes to Blu-ray Disc from Lionsgate Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound.

This film utilizes a stylized visual design that is meant to create a period specific aesthetic to support its thematic elements. It was shot on film, in black and white and uses an aspect ratio of 1.19:1 Looking at films from a “colorless” perspective is something that can take a little getting used. It isn’t an issue for me which allowed me to appreciate this nuanced presentation. Contrast is spot on which empowers whites and grays without washing away detail. Whites are punchy and grays are multi-staged and gradational. This is a predominantly dark film where unneven light and shading are prevalent. Blacks are fairly deep, with appreciable depth and dynamic highlights that surface when onscreen with mixed light/dark content.

Being a dialogue driven film the ability to clearly render that aspect is an important element of the soundtrack. This DTS-HD Master Audio presentation had no problem in that regard. Voices were reproduced with transparent realism and lucid texture that appropriately held sway over the front soundstage. The surround mix made apropos use of the sound platform to render the films elements. I found it to be subtly engaging as it recreated the many acoustic sounds associated with the environments portrayed onscreen. The soundstage offered a nicely balanced mixture of ambience/background sounds and music that characterized the mood of the scene. There weren’t any sub bass frequencies contained in the mix however the subwoofer was used to provide low bass emphasis where appropriate.

Bonus Features:

  • The Lighthouse: A Dark and Stormy Tale:
    1. Myths Behind the Madness
    2. Enchantment in the Light
    3. Figments of Imagination
  • Audio Commentary with co-writer/director Rob Eggers
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Digital Copy

Final Thoughts:

Co-written and directed by Robert Eggers The Lighthouse is an eclectic genre film that has excellent potential that may require multiple viewings to be fully digested. It comes to Blu-ray from Lionsgate Home Entertainment featuring solid technical merits mated with a fair supplemental offering. The Lighthouse is a good choice for genre fans looking to take the road less traveled. In that light it’s easily worth a rental on Blu-ray.

 

Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:

JVC DLA-RS2000 4K Ultra High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6-HDR Meter from Spectracal)
Stewart Filmscreen – Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16×9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Electronic Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV7704 Audio/Video Processor
Emotiva XPA-7 Gen 3 Seven Channel Amplifier
Emotiva XPA-11 Gen 3 Amplifier
Panasonic DP-UB820 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton “Ergo” and Canton In-Ceiling Series Speakers
SVS Ultra Surrounds (Gloss Finish in Bipolar Configuration)
Dual SVS PC4000 Cylinder Subwoofers
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) – Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
AC Infinity Aircom T8 Component Cooling Systems