REVIEW: RED LIGHTS
SYNOPSIS: Veteran paranormal researchers Dr. Margaret Matheson (Sigourney Weaver) and Tom Buckley (Cillian Murphy)debunk fraudulent claims of ghost whispering, faith healing and other psychic phenomena by detecting what Matheson calls “red lights,” the subtle tricks behind every staged supernatural occurrence. But when the legendary blind psychic Simon Silver (Robert De Niro) comes out of retirement after 30 years, his once-fearless adversary Matheson warns Buckley to back off, fearing reprisal from the powerful Silver.
Determined to discredit Silver, Buckley and his star student (Elizabeth Olsen) use every tool at their disposal to uncover the truth behind the charismatic, spoon-bending, mind reader. But Buckley is forced to reexamine his own core beliefs as his quest builds to a mind-blowing conclusion in this taut psychological thriller from award-winning writer and director Rodrigo Cortés (Buried).
REVIEW: I confess! I really do not know quite what to make of writer-director Rodrigo Cortes’ Red Lights, an awkward, overly dramatized thriller about a pair of paranormal myth-busters; Drs. Buckley and Matheson (Cillian Murphy and Sigourney Weaver) seeking to debunk claims of paranormal activities and psychics alike, with the marvelous nuances of science. Cortes’ vision is undoubtedly intended to conjure up some sort of argument on rationality vs. faith, but I can’t make the case that it’s convincing, or that the movie has anything compelling to reveal. It is, however, filled with lots of spine-tingling and chilling scenes for the most part.
The first half hour is cynical and a little humorous, but that doesn’t last for very long. The flick gives the feel of a Hollywood blockbuster that will truly get more unnerving as time moves along, but it instead, quickly derails with convoluted set pieces (which actually aren't all that impressive--just lots of shaking, larger-than-life loud noises, and things falling/breaking) and plot developments that become more over the top, exaggerated, and illogical, even for this type of psychological thriller. Robert De Niro (Silver) is a lot less animated than he usually is, with a Buddhist demeanor of sorts and a less than ideal part that makes one want to walk out of the theatre. Nevertheless, the veteran actor delivers on the part to some extent.
I’m thinking that Cortés previous effort, “Buried,” must have really impressed many actors, when he debuted it at Sundance a couple of years ago because for this picture (Red Lights) to attract veteran talent such as Robert De Niro and Sigourney Weaver and skilled actors such as Cillian Murphy, Elizabeth Olsen, Toby Jones and Joely Richardson, there must have been a real expectation on the part of Cortes, to deliver. I’m really lost for words, when it comes to how this match-up could have come to fruition. If this flick was brought out with virtually unknown actors playing the lead rolls, I’m certain that it would not be as disappointing as it turned out to be.
I have my doubts about how this movie will be received by general audiences even with the much-talked-about climactic left turn. The flick has the makings of a masterpiece with a thrilling feel, atmosphere, and tenor, but is a massive let-down in the end. If you have nothing better to do on a rainy night at home, I would still caution as to whether this wannabe-intelligent-genre flick is worth even watching as a rental. I certainly would not give more than two stars (out of five) for entertainment delivery on this “hot-mess”!
By Movie-Man Stan
MOVIE REVIEWS >>>
Submit Your Movie Review