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The Lighthouse

‘The Lighthouse’ is a different type of horror movie. It isn’t a bloody gore-fest like many, but more of a psychological thriller. There’s nothing more terrifying than the unseen menace of the mind with unpredictability a dangerous thing. Shot in stark black and white and in a small aspect ratio, ‘The Lighthouse’ is a striking experience sure to jangle nerves.

On a foggy islet in 19th century New England, a lighthouse stands as testament to the evils of human nature. Ephraim Winslow (Robert Pattinson) and Thomas Wake (Willem DaFoe) are lighthouse keepers tasked with keeping order. During an unending, bitter squall, cabin fever sets in. Isolation, personal habits and booze soon become a lethal cocktail as the men fight the temptation to descend into unbridled madness.

Co-written and directed by Robert Egger, ‘The Lighthouse’ is intense viewing. Notions of identity, sanity and desire are mixed into a lethal emotional cocktail. Winslow and Wake form an odd partnership with their initial reliance on each other not necessarily a good thing. The complex and consistently interesting screenplay is superbly realised by DaFoe and Pattinson who dive into their roles with enthusiastic gusto.

‘The Lighthouse’ truly shines in its’ technical creativity. Egger is a cinematic craftsman as each atmospheric shot adds to the ongoing tension. His creative choices are on point, making ‘The Lighthouse’ effectively eerie watching. The blending of humour, horror and drama is very well realised with its tonal structure sure to stay with you along with the stunning visuals.

Quite unlike several recent movies around, ‘The Lighthouse’ is definitely unique. It dares you to watch its salty tale with the performances and direction first rate. Given it’s only his 2nd movie after ‘The Witch’, Eggers shows genuine story-telling talent and a fearlessness in pushing the medium to rarely seen but welcome avenues.

Rating out of 10: 9

CURRENTLY AVAILABLE ON DVD AND VARIOUS STREAMING SERVICES.

Extraction

‘Extraction’ is the latest streaming-only movie causing a stir. It also raises the ongoing discussion of cinema vs online movie platforms. While that debate seems never-ending, the more important thing is the quality of the film itself. The story and the performers are key in engaging viewers. Extraction’ offers that with ease. With a reasonable budget and pulsating action, it’s a diverting time spent no matter where you see it.

Tyler Rake (Chris Hemsworth), a black-market mercenary, is ready for his latest mission. His task is to rescue Ovi Mahajan jr (Rudhraksh Jaiswal), the son of India’s biggest drug lord. Being held for ransom in Bangladesh by an equally dangerous drug baron, Ovi becomes Tyler’s main focus as he battles an armada of bloodthirsty miscreants.

‘Extraction’ is akin to a video game shoot-em-up with non-stop gunplay and action its primary purpose. That doesn’t mean it has the negative connotations of similar movies as it has more depth than most. Former stuntman and first time director Sam Hargrave infuses tons of spectacular stunts within the thin script. Away from the action, Hargrave shows promise in developing characters by making them more dimensional than his lesser talented colleagues.

Hemsworth is what makes ‘Extraction’ consistently solid viewing. Without him the film would have been just another anonymous action yarn. While his Marvel ‘Thor’ films haven’t been renowned for their acting performances, here Hemsworth shows genuine range as a mercenary with his own moral code. Jaiswal also puts in a strong effort as his character forms a strange familial bond to Hemsworth’s protective soldier of fortune.

‘Extraction’s no-frills story may signal dull watching but it delivers as an action vehicle. Whether it puts yet another nail in the coffin of the traditional cinema-going experience is up for debate. If movies such as these motivate more people to gain an interest in other types of films, the art form will endure for decades.

Rating out of 10: 7

CURRENTLY STREAMING ON NETFLIX