Director Robert Eggers may be fairly new to the scene, but he's quickly made a name for himself with artistic and riveting period piece thrillers. His debut The Witch was an unsettling horror film set in the 1630's. That movie has quickly become a modern classic for the genre, and Eggers returned to theaters in 2019 with The Lighthouse. Another moody period piece, the movie is in black and white, and features a cast of two: Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson. The later actor had to perform an almost violent masturbation scene in the movie, and it turns out that Pattison found that sequence "really funny."
The Lighthouse is a sensory theatrical experience, with the visuals and sound transporting audiences to the dismal titular setting. The two characters live a bleak existence, and we watch as their mental health begins to falter. Pattinson's Winslow becomes fixated with a figure of a mermaid, and masturbates furiously to it during the film's second act. While it's an unsettling thing to watch, the actor actually found the sequence funny when he watched it. As he put it,
But the crazier something is, I just think it’s really funny. I remember watching it for the first time, and I think that was the first part I had seen of the movie — I had just seen that little sequence, and I just thought it was phenomenal. Each individual piece was shot at totally random points of the movie, so I couldn’t really imagine what it was going to look like all put together: having shit sprayed in your face, the mermaid, there’s all these terrible images and I just thought it was kind of hilarious. And the audacity of, that’s what you’re thinking about when you’re having a wank? It’s pretty amazing.
Well, that's certainly one way to look at it. Robert Pattinson was aware of all the footage shot for The Lighthouse, but wasn't sure exactly how Winslow's "wank" scene was going to look. But when he saw the final product, the darkness and bizarre nature of the scene just made him laugh.
Robert Pattinson's comments to THR likely isn't the reaction that director Robert Eggers was hoping for The Lighthouse. The movie is methodically crafted, with tensions and stakes continually rising throughout the course of its 110-minute runtime. The masturbation sequence is one of The Lighthouse's many unsettling moments, as the character Winslow is almost violent in the act.
What's more, we're shown a variety of disturbing imagery, in addition to visions of beautiful mermaids. There are monsters, bugs, and all sorts of unsettling clips. Combine that with the voyeurism of the scene and violence of the act, and it's not exactly something that inspires laughs. But Robert Pattinson had his own perspective, having worked on the critically acclaimed drama that debuted at last year's film festivals.
The Lighthouse is currently available for home purchase. Be sure to check out our 2020 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.