What an awesome thriller and directorial debut this was! I hadn’t even heard of it until Prime recommended it to me, and I’m so glad I gave it a shot because it is incredibly well done, tense, powerfully acted and impactful.
Based on the story of three lighthouse keepers who disappeared from the Flannan Isles over 100 years ago, this gives a great look at how greed and guilt can overcome rational, honest people when put under extreme stress. For his first film, Krisoffer Nyholm directs masterfully, getting brilliant performances out of his three principals, using his setting wisely to add tension, isolation and stark beauty to the story and never presenting it as outdated, despite being something of a period piece.
Lighthouse keepers James, Thomas and Donald (Gerard Butler, Peter Mullan and Connor Swindells, respectively) set out for their six week rotation, with Donald being the young newcomer, and get much more than they bargained for. After happening upon a rowboat with a wounded passenger at the base of a rock face, things take a turn for the worst. Donald must kill the man in self-defense and they discover a chest full of gold bars on board the boat. Once others come seeking the treasure and the sailor, it becomes a panic-stricken fight for survival with deep issues of trust threatening to sink the entire island. Butler and Mullan are especially fantastic, giving a sense of their long-won bond, and Mullan plays the new guy very well. Once things go south, how they all deal with their actions is absolutely fascinating to watch, as each actor encapsulates feelings of dread, guilt and depression and emotes them with perfect precision.
Full of grit and raw, powerful emotion, this amazingly-directed and acted thriller is pure dynamite and absolutely worth the watch!