March 7, 2021

Life, death, sea, seagulls ★★★★ ✩


Director: Robert Eggers Script: Max and Robert Eggers. Interpreters: Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson. USA, 2019. Duration: 110 minutes Drama / Terror

David Lynch’s cinema has noises, it creaks like a wounded beast, as if the celluloid had a life of its own, as if the wood cracked between the arms of a poor madwoman, as if you could always hear the unhealthy buzz inside your head , from your grotesque eraser head. Robert Eggers’ second film, after debuting in 2015 with the remarkable “The Witch: a Legend of New England,” also rocks violently with overwhelming music and encloses sounds that pierce your body just like an icy razor as it starts the nightmare in the first few minutes that recover the most dumb nightmare.

On a tiny and distant island of New England, during the 1890s, veteran lighthouse keeper Thomas Wake (an impressive, repulsive and extreme Willem Dafoe) and his young assistant Ephraim Winslow (nobody ever imagined that an extreme Robert Pattinson would ever perform a I work like this) they must live four weeks without more company than a brandy capable of losing their senses, the pestilent food they prepare in centuries-old stained pots, some tattered pallets that hide old and strange memories and the furious and innocent seagulls. But there seems to be something worse still in the atmosphere, in the constant wind and the furious, eternal whipping of the waves, something that drives the protagonists crazy and makes them throw up the worst of themselves in puddles of foul alcohol. And, then, the objective of both, always keep the light on for the navigators until the relay arrives that will allow them to return to land, passes to a second, to a third plane, to an impossible plane.

Soon, the dirty and toothless Wake tries to establish the rules of the game in front of the rookie Winslow, and too soon too, the spectator knows that the two characters keep in the bottom of their immoral hearts crushed by sweat, salt and dark sea memories shady of the past. Shot in a suffocating black and white, the masterful tape, a kind of insane rural horror terror, haunts the viewer’s stomach, pushes and removes it, because he knows that the curse and madness are written on the fronts of the characters. The last half hour, the end point to the tragedy, ends up convincing us that Eggers is the new head of evil in a pure and dreamlike state. Yes, boredom turns men into villains, but also their own, and so often nauseating, human condition.

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