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Queer Editorial

lightquiver.jpg Quiver

Quiver braves a night out at the cinema and “braves” is very much the operative word…

I’ve just seen ‘The Lighthouse’, starring Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe, and I can’t stop thinking about it. The movie is, among other things, a black and white eco-mediation on industrialisation and identity, with powerhouse performances from the two leads. Its suffocating brutalism had me watching from behind my hands, and I couldn’t even look at the closing shot. Two people left and didn’t come back – after one particularly brutal scene involving Pattinson and a seagull – and another couple left and returned ten minutes later. Several viewers were laughing uncomfortably at incongruous points in the narrative. Basically, it wasn't an easy watch and the atmosphere of discomfort was palpable in the auditorium. As the credits rolled the man sitting next to me (we’d never met before) just looked and we said what-the-fuck? Already I’ve had a number of conversations with friends about what we actually saw when we watched ‘The Lighthouse’. It’s a gritty, battle-the-elements against-all-the-odds thriller set on a godforsaken rocky outcrop with a lighthouse on it. There are persistent sea birds, wicked storms, a missed rescue, a screeching mermaid and salty monologues, accompanied by industrial-scale drinking and masturbation. There’s all-manner of moody, wind-blasted shots of the two male leads looking craggier than Craggy Island and really this trope-laden film shouldn’t work, but it does. I don’t want to spoil it, but in the end, I have to say – for me – the homoerotic tones were just too big (or tall) to ignore. The maintenance of contemporary toxic masculinity diminishes us all, women and men, and I don’t think I’ll be giving anything away by saying I reckon Pattinson’s character was a self-loathing gay man looking for isolation from the love that dare not speak its name. Knowing the Prometheus myth helps (a bit) in unpacking the story, and there are Romantic literary references throughout. It is a funny, horrific and very twisted tale that put me in mind of ‘Steptoe and Son’, ‘Twin Peaks’, ‘Nighty Night’, Hitchcock, Peter Strickland’s films and ‘Apocalypse Now’, all with a very Kubrick/’2001’-style penultimate scene. What a trip. I am going to see it again after saying I probably couldn’t. And you should see it too. I am not sure what you’ll feel, but you will feel something.