The Lighthouse – 4.5/5
The second feature from Robert Eggers (The Witch) stars Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattison as two dysfunctional lighthouse keepers – or “wickies”, as Defoe’s character calls them – who drive each other slowly mad. Shot in black and white in the narrow 1.19:1 aspect ratio, The Lighthouse is wonderfully atmospheric, and frequently very funny. Dafoe’s lighthouse keeper – as briny a sea captain cliche as you could possibly dream up – is monstrously watchable, and finds in Pattinson’s enigmatic sidekick a perfect foil.
The Report – 3.5/5
Adam Driver stars in this engaging procedural set in the aftermath of 9/11, when the CIA began systematically torturing terrorism suspects. Daniel Jones (Driver) is a senate staffer tasked with writing a report on the CIA’s actions. The plot moves along at a brisk pace, with a host of credible performances from very good actors, including Annette Benning, Jon Hamm, Tim Blake Nelson, Michael C Hall and Sarah Goldberg (Barry). The Report is a timely reminder of the importance of accountability – in an era when, in America and in the UK, accountability is too often left to fall by the wayside.
Waiting for the Barbarians – 2/5
Adapted from the novel by J.M. Coetzee, from a script by Coetzee, this historical epic focuses on a nameless magistrate (Mark Rylance), keeping ward over a small colonial frontier settlement. Johnny Depp is charismatically detached as the evil Colonel Joll, a British police officer brought in to instigate violence with the natives, who live peacefully beyond the border wall. It’s a story with depth and intelligence which never quite translates to cinema; fans of director Ciro Guerra’s bloodedly cinematic earlier films (the masterful Embrace of the Serpent and Birds of Passage) will likely leave disappointed.