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|Index||137 reviews in total|
The skeptical psychologist Dr. Margaret Matheson (Sigourney Weaver) and
her assistant, the physician Tom Buckley (Cillian Murphy), are
specialists in disclosing fraudulent paranormal phenomena. When the
famous psychic Simon Silver (Robert De Niro) reappears to his public
after many years of absence, Tom becomes obsessed to investigate
whether Silver is a fraud or not.
"Red Lights" could have been a good movie with an intriguing premise. Unfortunately the plot is destroyed by the awful rushed conclusion, leaving many open questions behind. My vote is six.
Title (Brazil): "Poder Paranormal" ("Paranormal Power")
Not very often do you see such juxtaposition in film in terms of
narrative structure. Unfortunately the second hour of this ambitious
thriller fails to follow its enthralling predecessor, which explores a
new and engaging concept.
Following in the footsteps of the director, why not separate my review into two halves? Though I will try not to decline in the quality of analysis.
With a highly respected and frankly quite surprising cast (the surprise being the lack of marketing and attention the film has received), nothing negative can be said of the fine performances, most notably from our protagonist Cillian Murphy. The actors deliver dialogue to assist the slow plot development and at times subtle, appropriate humour between Murphy and Sigourney Weaver's characters. The chemistry between the two paranormal researchers is evident throughout and it is not until one of the film's many expositions where this is lost. This technique of continuous revelations is what enables an audience to remain in their seats despite having perhaps consumed too much of the overpriced beverages from the lobby, and as cliché as it is, keeps you on the edge of your seat. (hopefully not due to irritability) The script itself unveils an original idea of exposing paranormal phenomena as fraudulent, which itself is reason enough to enjoy this film in theatres while you still can!
Now onto the second hour, I mean paragraph. The immediate impact of the arguably primary disequilibrium can be felt as it occurs, as the tone of the motion picture changes. Unexpected plot holes begin to expose themselves as spots might to a thirteen year-old. This unfortunate turn in events (speaking both figuratively and literally) proves to lead to an eventual anti-climax, that cannot be described as anything else but disappointing. As a consumer, I found myself questioning where exactly the film was going, as one might if taken on a different bus route to a usually predictable destination. Though we ended up at the expectation of predictability and disappointment. (only an expectation in hour two) Anticipating the final exposition was a task of its own, would there be a resolution? Would our unusual tragic hero achieve his goal? How would a new equilibrium be incorporated? This is what kept blinking to a minimum throughout, though eyes were still rolling at particular moments due to the inconceivable mistakes and unexplained occurrences. We were almost being rushed towards the end of the story so that the theatre could get more people to enjoy the film for an hour or tw... forget it, just the one hour.
Without the cast to save the ambition and potential of Rodrigo Cortes' piece, it no doubt would have been a disaster in all respects and its already mundane box office performance would be as low as my mood coming out of Screen 14 last Wednesday. With all respect to the director/writer though, 'Red Lights' is worth watching based solely on the first 60 minutes because of the idea, as well as the performances of the many talented actors, despite some characters being completely irrelevant and unnecessary. If you find yourself searching for something to do one evening, and if there are no particular films you desire to see, but you desire to see a film then 'Red Lights' will moderately satisfy your appetite, though you may be disappointed there wasn't more on the plate.
Rodrigo Cortes has all the makings of an auteur. "Red Lights" really puts the hook in viewers, and is hard to stop watching once it gets going. You get the feeling Cortes is quite enthusiastic, just dying to tell you this yarn. His script is well-written, intelligent, and never bamboozles. Elisabeth Olsen is incandescent, and the performances from all the leads have them in top form. Some may criticize the film as being overproduced: many sequences are bursting forth with camera angles and takes, and these combined with Cortes's fulminating style of editing sometimes give the film the feel of "Desperate Hours." But I loved this film, loved the color palette, loved the patois and exposition, and admire Cortes's confident bombast. Great things are coming from this filmmaker.
Red Lights is about a team of professional sceptics, aka Cillian Murphy
and Sigourney Weaver, who go around 'debunking' supposed psychic and
supernatural occurrences (think Sculley from the X-files, but without
the oversize flashlight and shoulderpads).
They seem to be making a good living off picking holes in séances and mediums when along comes our friend Robert DeNiro, who appears to be the 'real deal.' Cue a battle played out in the media as they do their best to try and disprove his act.
Red Lights is certainly not the best film in the world, but it's different. I can't think of many other films that cover similar topics. And, of course you have the three big leads who elevate it to something higher than just a B-movie.
There are some twists and turns in the plot (one of which I saw coming, one I didn't) and I won't give those away. However, based on what I've read from other people on the internet after watching it, whether you approve of the 'twists' will ultimately determine your enjoyment of the film. I guess it's a case of you have to watch the film to find out whether you'll like it or not.
I thought it was good. Not great, but solid enough to be enjoyable.
RED LIGHTS: how this little gem escaped any significant release is a mystery. This is a thriller with supernatural references, but it is smart enough to build characters and let scenes breath before the really creepy stuff starts happening. There are very subtle references to THE OMEN and other horror films but nothing overt; no huge gross outs or even climactic physical battles.(though there is a brutal bathroom battle worthy of the new James Bond movies) The cast is terrific:Sigourney Weaver and Cillian Murphy (for once in a good guy role!) are debunker's of paranormal phenomenon. Robert Deniro plays a shadowy psychic that tangled with Weaver's character in the past, the only one that made Weaver doubt herself. Does Deniro's character, Silver, have amazing supernatural tendencies or is he merely a very dangerous swindler. What I really liked about this movie is that it felt like a 70's conspiracy theory thriller. The movie allows for sly humor and colorful characters as it slowly and subtly builds the tension and suspense. While there is not a big Deniro/Weaver scene, (the only disappointment here) there is a very unique, quite scene with Deniro and Murphy that recalls the Pacino/Deniro diner scene in HEAT, just before the climax of that film. Like that film, the scene is kind of an acknowledgment that, though you may be a worthy opponent, it's kill or be killed. Or is it? The movie has you guessing until the ending twist that is, not only somewhat shocking, but is actually logical.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
First let me say that it was well done: well produced, well acted, good
editing. But, after watching I wonder. Was this culturally relevant? Do
I care? I like supernatural thrillers. They all have the basic
assumption that the characters do not believe then are convinced
through the course of the movie. In this one I kept asking myself. Who
really believes psychics are real? Not me. I also don't believe
zombies, ghosts of killers or the anti-Christ is real. But in most
movies they are dealt with in manner that allows me to suspend my
disbelief and enjoy. In RED LIGHTS I could not suspend my disbelief.
There are other movies that dealt with psychic abilities in a manner
more digestible than this.
Possible spoiler, but probably not....
I also thought the ending was a bit rushed and that ceramic fixtures like toilets and sinks do not break that easily without severe bodily harm.
This is my first review, so feel free to comment.
I thought this was an excellent thriller movie. Perhaps too much hyped
by comparison to Sixth Sense, but I would just watch and be pleasantly
surprised by the journey.
Although starting off slow, it gets better. The only thing I have to complain about, is that this movie LOOKS like it takes place in 1980s, but apparently its 2011 (revealed later on in the movie). As I was watching, I was thrown off by the modern day Macbook and Blackberries, where everything else was archaic and dingy - like the cars, clothing and equipment.
I also very much liked how the plot is spelled out for the audience as if we could not figure it out. Some things were better left unsaid, and just shown to you as the movie continues. It's something movies today lack - as if the audience needs the explanation.
If you like psychological thrillers, you'll like this one. It reminded me of movies like Pi, Memento etc. I wish there was more movies like this.
Red Lights is the second psychological thriller from the
writer/director of Buried, Rodrigo Cortes. When physicist Tom Buckley
and his boss Margaret Matheson (a university academic who engages in
paranormal investigations) discover their department's funding is being
funneled to the supernatural studies department, and not long after
Simon Silver, a psychic who vanished 30 years prior, comes out of
hiding to perform one last time. Tom begins investigating into Silver,
against Matheson's wishes, and soon events spiral out of control,
building to a conclusion that will shake reality.
Rodrigo Cortes is a truly skilled director who made a name of himself with the claustrophobic-hit film Buried (which also is Ryan Reynolds' best acting performance), but here, he doesn't necessarily solidify his position as a phenomenal director, but one who can offer a unique vision on recycled plot elements. The script was, I thought, fabulous. Sure, there was one twist you saw coming because of foreshadowing, but there were a couple that really just came out of nowhere. Even if you saw the one coming, it truly offered a very lonely and feeling of being an ant in a world where the greatest secrets are right in front of our eyes. The acting was superb as well, especially Cillian Murphy who really deserves more leading roles. His transformation from loyal assistant to obsessed investigator is great, as reality begins to break down in his eyes. Robert De Nero was great as Simon Silver, the blind magician who, seemingly, is very powerful. Sigourney Weaver was good as Matheson, offering a more emotional role than what she's normally done.
The musical score by Victor Reyes is haunting and very imaginative, offering a slight homage to Hans Zimmer's The Ring and David Julyan's Cabin in the Woods. The production design was very impressive too, and somewhat elaborate, given the dark, gloomy settings in which the intense activity takes place.
Overall, Red Lights is a very inventive and creepy thriller that's far above average. I've very disappointed with critics and viewers with this movie; why is there so much hatred surrounding it? Either way, a damn good thriller that's better than most in the recent years, although it isn't for everyone as it is a bit slow and more thought-provoking.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Red Lights follows two scientists who expose paranormal hoaxers the
likes of Uri Geller or John Edwards. Their faith in their ability to
disprove these frauds is tested when when they come up against
paranormal celebrity, Simon Silver (played perfectly by DeNiro in one
of the few roles where I've ever seen him play, um, not DeNiro). Silver
seems to possess some genuinely inexplicable talents. Is he the real
deal? And more to the point, is he dangerous or even deadly to those
who try to expose him?
Reading through some of the other reviews on Red Lights has left me shaking my head in wonder. A 'twist that doesn't make sense' say a few of them, and that's complete hogwash. The twist here makes perfect sense, and it's genius in that it reflects the entire film in a different light. It makes you go all the way back to the beginning and re-examine everything you saw - everything a character said, every motivation, every occurrence - from a completely different perspective.
Remember when you saw 'Fight Club' and the penny finally dropped as to what was going on and, if you're anything like me, you said to yourself "that's awesome!"? I'd go as far as to say Red Lights is even better than that, because the twist is not only cleverer, but it's also left right until the last scenes; whereas in Fight Club, most folks figured it out about halfway through.
Don't worry by the way, the twist isn't the same as the one in Fight Club. The only reason I make that analogy is because, like Fight Club, this twist had me grinning from ear-to-ear because it actually got me... and not many do.
Red Lights was one of those films that I hadn't heard of before and selected solely on the strength of its cast. I was not disappointed. The fact that one person wrote, directed and edited all this is almost as amazing as the powers of Simon Silver himself. It was a brilliantly structured, wildly intelligent ride along the boundaries between the fraudulent and the real. It's the most underrated film I've ever come across on IMDb. I'd recommend it to anyone who is fascinated by the ongoing battle between skeptics and believers, and to anyone who enjoys a well-directed, engaging thriller with an ending you will never see coming.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is a great movie with suspense and a third act you never see coming. Before I watched this movie, I checked the Rodger Ebert review, as I always do. Ebert said this movie had "a great first and second acts" yet devolved "into an action movie in the third act". The third act was an absolute blind side revelation twist in the story, a twist you never see coming and questions the 'doubt' about the existence of psychic powers. -trust me on this w/o revealing spoilers. Then entire movie builds to the third act, where something you never saw coming occurs. And I want to emphasize, Ebert says that the third act devolved into an "action movie", I watched the movie with a skeptic eye and it never devolved into an action movie. Perhaps Ebert needs to retire. The surprise third act is nothing you will see coming.
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