Welcome to the 2019 CIRCUIT CONSIDERATIONS series. Highlighting the very best in film, acting, and technical achievements for the past 12 months that awards voters may need help remembering. Each day a different writer will make their plea for a specific film in a respective category. If you miss one, click the tag “Circuit Considerations 2019,” and if you have some suggestions, include them in the comments below!
With “The Lighthouse,” director Robert Eggers cements his reputation as one of the premier voices in the new wave of arthouse horror, alongside Ari Aster and Jordan Peele.
Starring Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe, this dark psychological piece utilizes striking and often deeply allegorical imagery to depict the descent into madness of two isolated lighthouse keepers. The dialogue between the two men is brilliant in how it continually straddles the line between profound and utterly nonsensical, but “The Lighthouse” wouldn’t be half as memorable without its artistic, surreal, and frequently disturbing visuals. That’s where cinematographer Jarin Blaschke comes in.
This marks the second collaboration between Blaschke and Eggers, the two having worked together on the 2015 period horror film “The Witch.” As Eggers made his feature debut, Blaschke was instrumental in constructing a signature aesthetic that would define his work. In “The Witch,” Blaschke uses a muted color palette to convey a sense of harshness and deprivation associated with life as an early American settler, and the result is an immediately identifiable visual style.
But he outdoes himself with “The Lighthouse,” which is an entirely different beast. Gorgeously shot in pristine black and white, Blaschke uses high contrast between light and darkness that gives the film the texture and detail of a 17th-century Dutch painting.
Although it’s rare that horror films receive recognition at the Academy Awards, Jarin Blaschke feels as though he could earn “The Lighthouse” a nomination in his category. He’s been having a good showing so far this awards season, receiving nominations from the Alliance of Women Film Journalists, the Broadcast Film Critics Association, the Chicago Film Critics Association, the Film Independent Spirit Awards, the Hollywood Critics Association, the Online Association of Female Film Critics, among others. It’ll be interesting to see if he can convert this goodwill from critics into Oscar gold.