13. The Lighthouse (2019)

There are quite a few movies on this list that come from A24, an indie film studio that’s blown up, largely in part because they turn over creative control to their directors. While a lot (most) of A24’s movies are utterly phenomenal, these directors would never be able to have the level of creative freedom that they have with A24 at another studio. I am not sure that there is a more perfect example of this than Robert Eggers’ 2019 film The Lighthouse. The premise is pretty simple, two light house keepers slowly go insane. It’s a slow burn of a film that puts a lot of its weight onto the backs of it’s leads Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson. Thankfully, they are more than capable of shouldering the load (I take back every single bad thing I said about Pattinson after I saw Twilight in high school) as they turn in arguably the best, most captivating performances of their careers. This is a Greek tragedy come to life (right down to the last shot of the film) and to say it’s gorgeously shot is really underselling it. The box aspect ratio that Eggers shot the movie in isn’t some gimmick, it’s an essential framing and storytelling device that adds another level of claustrophobia. I adored The Witch, Eggers’ 2015 directorial debut, but The Lighthouse operates on a completely different level.

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