Red Lights (2012) Poster

(2012)

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5/10
Yes, yes, yes, yes, NO!
mueslibrekkies17 June 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Sigourney Weaver plays Margeret Matheson, a jaded middle-aged psychologist. If you've seen Avatar it's the same character she plays in that but with a bit less vitriol. I liked this character; a firm woman,but fair and kind when she needs to be. This is a character we've all met in real life at some point. She's compelling and extremely well acted by Weaver. In every scene you're completely hooked by the show she puts on.

Cillian Murphy's character, Tom Buckley, is a little more mysterious. He plays a Physicist (allegedly) who accompanies Matheson on her expeditions to debunk fake mediums and psychics. The character is written with little back story and what little back story that is introduced remains cryptic. The role is well acted but outshone by the better conceived, better written character of Matheson.

The film starts out well. The first scene (a prologue/intro sequence) is suspenseful and I thought it worked really well. Both Weaver's and Murphy's characters are introduced well and chemistry is established right from the first scene.

The best thing about this film is the atmosphere. Every scene is absolutely dripping with it. The direction as well is tasteful and strong. Little touches like the camera shaking a little more in every scene that Matheson is in (to show her questionable health) are very effective and add to the feel.

This 2 hour film trundles along at a steady pace, fleshing out Matheson and Buckley (sort of) and introducing a completely irrelevant love interest for Buckley. She plays little role in the story and could be cut entirely.

We follow them as they expose a Psychic as a fake. They perform surveillance in the crowd before the show, spotting so called "Red Lights" (employees of the Psychic who scout potential targets for the psychiching later) and hacking into the radio frequency that is used to communicated with the Psychic on stage and tell him names and other secrets to fool the audience into thinking he's actually got a gift. Looking good so far.

We are shown Matheson's inner turmoil; her sick son. Apparently in a coma for over a decade, the soft, squishy side of such a apparently tough woman is laid bare. Apparently her zeal for exposing fake psychics stems from her inability to let him go. She uses him as an excuse almost, each case shown to be a fake solidifying her belief that there's no afterlife and justifying her keeping him alive. Besides a spot of clumsy writing with some un-needed overexposition (a bit of a theme with this film I'm afraid) the time spent in the hospital room really opens up Matheson's character.

And then she dies.

Seriously, she dies. Why? I don't know. Matheson, the most fleshed out and built up character just up and dies. Such a pointless grab at an emotional scene completely kicks the legs out from under the film. There's no reason why the Matheson character couldn't have been included in the rest of the film, she just disappear. This was supposed to be a parallel of a past event in the story, where Simon Silver's (a blind, formerly extremely famous psychic (Robert De Niro)) biggest critic mysteriously died from a heart attack. However it is very, very loosely linked and barely explained.

The latter half of the film we focus on Buckley as he becomes obsessed with discovering Simon Silver as a fraud. Buckley, now apparently the main character, slowly seems to get more and more unhinged as he's apparently haunted by Silver. Birds spontaneously fly into windows near him, things go bump in the night, equipment explodes randomly etc etc. The void left by Matheson never quite goes away though, for all the wrong reasons.

Silver is eventually found to not be a fraud after a heavy duty scientific study but Buckley unleashes his trying-so-hard-to-do-an-American-accent student(Ben, Craig Roberts) on the footage from the experiment who eventually comes up with nothing. Suddenly, love interest (who I'd completely forgotten about) comes along and spots that Silver's watch and the other scientist performing the test's watch are perfectly in sync. Ignoring the fact that Silver was told to remove his watch earlier in the scene and the fact that the other (unintroduced) scientist is apparently totally alright with jeopardising his scientific career for whatever Silver is paying him, this reveal is pretty weak and totally not characteristic of actual scientific study.

Buckley confronts Silver on stage at his last show (after being beaten thoroughly to fine mush by one of Silver's minions) and the theatre goes mad. Lights explode, ceilings crack, the ground shakes, Silver's glasses fall off. This is all very exciting and you really wonder how Silver is pulling it all off. You wait for the great reveal. The turmoil subsides and Buckley flicks a coin at Silver who snatches it out of the air, revealing he is not in fact blind and is a fraud. This is where the film should have ended.

And then Silver says that one line. That simple 5 word line that completely ruins the entire film. "How did you do that"

Yep, you got it. Buckley, the mysterious physicist, the man obsessed with revealing Silver as a fraud, is the true Psychic. This is a twist so violent and random it finally breaks the films neck. It completely mangles the whole tone, message, moral; anything this film had is now gone. The mystery and tension evaporates like a flock of birds after a gunshot. The intrigue at how these apparently impossible events could have possibly happened to Buckley is moot. All of this in the last 5 minutes of the film. I have never known a film be more thoroughly ruined in such an thorough and accurate way.

5/10. The story is nearly there, the acting is generally good, the atmosphere created is stellar, but those last 5 minutes are truly horrifying.
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7/10
Lights at the end of tunnel.
alangsco19 June 2012
Firstly, apologies for the review title. I've seen too many tabloid headlines.

Red Lights was reasonably original, well-written and well-acted. Any movie that can tick these three boxes is worth a look. Although the build up to the introduction of De Niro's character (Simon Silver) represented a slightly excessive portion of the movie it was, nevertheless, interesting. I gather the ending has divided opinion quite a lot, and I admit that it could have been done much better. I've said before when reviewing movies that it's never a good sign when you have to have a character explicitly explain just what has happened in the film. It might have been a better idea to leave it without the explanation and let the audience decide. That might have stoked up debate in a good way and generated some more interest in the film.

Acting-wise i'm sorry to say i'm always skeptical when Robert De Niro appears in a movie nowadays. The man was a terrific actor in his day, but he's been in a lot of recent turkeys. He doesn't have a lot of screen-time here but his performance was fine. If he keeps choosing credible films like this one his reputation will start to repair itself. Sigourney Weaver performs with credit as usual and I always rate Cillian Murphy highly.

Definitely worth going to see this. It's above average, if only slightly.
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7/10
Some good twists, some poor twists and some excellent actors
Tom Gooderson-A'Court23 June 2012
Psychologist and paranormal investigator Dr. Margaret Matheson (Sigourney Weaver) and her assistant Dr. Tom Buckley (Cillian Murphy) a physicist travel around debunking supposed paranormal activity from bumps in the night to stage psychics. Dr. Buckley wants to investigate their most challenging person to date, Simon Silver (Robert De Niro), a redound psychic who is making a comeback after a thirty year absence from the stage. Dr. Matheson warns Buckley against this though after having come up against him in the 1970s and failing to prove him a fraud. With the help of student Sally Owen (Elisabeth Olsen) Buckley defies Matheson and begins investigating the illusive Silver.

As a radical atheist and sceptic the film's ideas appealed to me. I was delighted to watch the scientists make fun of and debunk people who claim to see ghosts and be able to read minds. The script treats these people with distain and isn't afraid to mention how these people can be responsible for giving stupid people false hope and can even cost lives. The cast is also amongst the best of any film this year. With actors such as Signourney Weaver, Cillian Murphy, Toby Jones, Joely Richardson, the delightful Elizabeth Olsen and my all time favourite actor Robert De Niro, anything less than a great film would be a disappointment. Well, this isn't a great film but it isn't terrible either.

The cast are all great. It's nice to see Sigourney Weaver in a more substantial role for a change and not just popping up at the end of a sci-fi film. She is believable as a psychologist and it's fun to see her spa with Toby Jones. Her character also has just the tiniest bit of doubt which makes her fallible and this is conveyed well by the actress. Cillian Murphy is also excellent as the physicist but is a bit more mysterious than Weaver. He gets better as his character develops as the film progresses. Elisabeth Olsen gives another good performance but after her break out roles in Mary, Martha and Safe House takes a bit of a back seat here. De Niro, who as I said is my all time favourite actor doesn't embarrass himself for once and while we don't get De Niro of the 70s or 80s he's on good form here. The supporting cast of Submarine's Craig Roberts, Joley Richardson, Toby Jones and English language newcomer Leonardo Sbaraglia help to round out a great cast with good performances.

The plot develops at a good pace and it gets darker and scarier as it goes on. I wasn't able to get the main twist which was a satisfying if ever so slightly confusing one but De Niro's twists were ridiculously obvious and pointed to far too much. Anyone can see what is going on, you just have to watch. The camera work is far too busy for my liking. One scene featuring Murphy and Olsen having a conversation in a café used about seven different camera angles and it became a little distracting. After filming Ryan Reynolds in a box for his last feature Buried, director Rodrigo Cortes could have done with making his latest film a bit more confined.

The first hour is definitely better than the second and there was an echo of "oh, well then" as the lights went up in the cinema. The film loses its way slightly in the second half and the somewhat pedestrian script comes to the forefront. While the actors do a good job and while there is plenty to like the ending isn't brilliant and doesn't do the opening justice. Even so, it's nice to watch some great actors delivering good performances and the twists should keep most people guessing.

www.attheback.blogspot.com
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7/10
Paranormal Piffle
Dharmendra Singh21 June 2012
Not much has been made of it, but 'Red Lights' has a twist which, I don't care how attentive or clever you are, you will simply not predict. Paranormal-themed films are getting to be quite stale, but the ending, which actually has two twists, is marvellous and might - might - galvanise the genre.

Sigourney Weaver and Cillian (pronounced 'Kill-ian') Murphy play Doctors Matheson and Buckley. They're a psychologist and physicist who investigate psychic claims. Invariably they come away from each case laughing. Every one is explained scientifically; rationally. They're exposed as magic tricks.

Recent roles haven't reflected why Weaver, who is nearly 65, has been so prolific of late, but here she excels. Her character is meant to be an expert and, because of the plausibility she exudes, that's exactly how I viewed her. Writer-director Rodrigo Cortes' ('Buried') excellent script assists her characterisation. Intellectual, detailed, life-like: you could be mistaken, at moments, for watching a TV show debate. Murphy gets similar credit. He invests in his role a seriousness which might have been silly if he did so in isolation.

The doctors find their match in Simon Silver (Robert De Niro), a famous psychic who comes out of retirement for one last pay check. He's the only one Weaver won't investigate because 'he's the only one who makes her doubt'. Murphy insists, however, but when he does, he – we – uncover more than we were expecting.

Like you (I hope), I'm convinced that psychic ability is balderdash. So I was more than impressed at how Cortes creates a mood and a tempo that keeps you guessing until the dramatic end. His film is original, suspenseful and, most importantly for a film with this premise, credible.

But then there's De Niro, my favourite actor. Always has been. Always will be. But my God has he been making it hard for me these past 20 years. He once said that he was an actor, not a personality. I think it's time for him to update his personal quote book. Why do I say this? Because (and I deeply regret admitting this) he's the single biggest reason why 'Red Lights', regardless of Weaver's and Murphy's endeavours and the superb final twist, will join his expanding cannon of fodder.

www.moseleyb13.com
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1/10
Don't waste your time
phd_travel27 December 2012
Warning: Spoilers
With a good cast like this how could it collapse so terribly? A terrible story with very bad direction.

The story starts off with some potential - investigating and debunking bogus paranormal claims. Then it just totally falls apart with a disgusting toilet beating up and anti climactic ending.

The direction is terrible with cheap shock tactics and over dramatic music.

I know it's hard to get roles after a certain age but Sigourney and Robert are way too good for such a bad story. Even Cillian is too good for this movie.

Just don't bother at all.
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8/10
An intelligent mystery
snodlander21 June 2012
I wasn't sure what to expect from the trailers. Gore and horror aren't my thing, unless it's done well, and so few are these days. However, I was pleasantly surprised. This has less to do with the supernatural and more to do with belief systems in a modern world.

The story focuses upon two scientist professors that fill in the time between classes by investigating and exposing psychic frauds, be they petulant schoolgirls or venal evangelists. So when Murphy presses to investigate a famous mystic, why is Weaver so reluctant to agree? Is De Niro gifted with extraordinary powers, or a clever con artist? The atmosphere becomes more menacing and oppressive as the film progresses, leaving me wondering whether Murphy was becoming paranoid, or whether De Niro really was targeting him. The end, though not exactly the Sixth Sense ending some are proclaiming, was certainly unexpected.

Great acting from the leads, as you would expect. Great dialogue. Not much in the way of action, nor thankfully schlock horror, but the tension mounted throughout the film. A clever and satisfying film.
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2/10
A total let down of a movie
paulomars23 October 2012
I had high hopes for this movie after reading some of the glowing reviews on this site. I figured that with Weaver and De Niro this had to be on course. I will admit that the first 45 minutes of the movie are excellent, engrossing and you really feel like you are on course for something special. But then it all goes horribly wrong. It turns into a total circus with a VERY easy to predict plot. I've read reviews of people saying stuff about needing to be a genius to figure this movie out. The clues are blatantly obvious! As for the characters, it's the best I've seen Weaver since the Alien movies. As for De Niro, why does he keep choosing roles that are just not suited to De Niro? Murphy is best sticking to being a slime bad guy.

This could have been a genuinely good story but turned out to be a poor imitation of an M Night Shyamalan movie. I cannot recommend this movie.
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7/10
Smart work from Rodrigo Cortés
John Raymond Peterson2 November 2012
Warning: Spoilers
The critics hated this movie and I can't explain that; they missed the fact that Cortés'screenplay and direction cast its own misdirection and illusion on an unsuspecting audience. Sigourney Weaver, Robert De Niro are the actors you tend to focus on while you wonder about Cillian Murphy's role. Now, I'm about to write a real spoiler here; so if you haven't noticed the spoiler alert, be warned.

It's Tom Buckley, played quite well by Murphy, who is the key character. De Niro's and Weaver's characters are just the set-up for a pretty good third act where Murphy's character is finally revealed to be the person with telekinetic powers. It may be something that you see as a possibility, but how Cortés brings it to the screen is what made it for me a really good movie. I watch an inordinate quantity of movies and I saw in this one, quality work deserving of far better than the overall ratings. I recommend it, unless you have an aversion to the genre; that's okay I use to myself, years back, and I'm picky about watching more of them. The cast was a factor in my decision to see it; I hope it is for you.
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7/10
Spanish-US co-production about scientists who attempt to debunk fake healers
ma-cortes1 January 2013
Psychologist Margaret Matheson (Sigourney Weaver) and her assistant study paranormal activity named Tom Buckley (Cillian Murphy) , which leads them to investigate and unlock a world-renowned psychic who has resurfaced years after his toughest critic mysteriously passed away. Margaret is a professional skeptic who bears a dark past . Then the legendary blind psychic Simon Silver (Robert De Niro , his wife, Grace Hightower, plays the African-American talk show host who interviews him) comes out of retirement after 30 years . Buckley remains determined to discredit the hugely popular and seemingly genuine Silver . Buckley enlists the aid of his star student, Sally (Elizabeth Olsen) . Together, they employ a dazzling array of high-tech tools to debunk the secrets of Silvers abilities .

This interesting film contains suspense , thrills , intrigue ,intense drama and plot twists . The picture succeeds because the thriller, tension , as well as a superbly written script delving into the human psyche in such extreme situation and dealing with the issue of swindlers , false physicians , and other fraudulent healers . The movie works on many levels , being constantly reconfigured and plenty of twists and turns . Despite its medium budget the picture manages to be intelligent, intriguing and thrilling . Good performance from Sigourney Weaver as Dr. Margaret Matheson as a world's foremost investigators of paranormal phenomena and her partner, Tom Buckley well played by Cillian Murphy . Fine support cast as Toby Jones as Paul Shackleton , Joely Richardson as Monica Hansen , Elizabeth Olsen as Sally Owen and Leonardo Sbaraglia as Palladino .

This theme about scientists who carry out activities to debunk dozens of fraudulent mind readers, ghost hunters, faith healers has been treated in other films such as Fairy tale (1998) and Photographing fairies (1997) , both of them filmed under different point of sight . ¨Red Lights¨ packs a thrilling and suspenseful musical score by Victor Reyes . Furthermore , a colorful and appropriate cinematography by Xavi Gimenez . This Spanish film starred by an American-all-star-cast and with international success was compellingly written , produced and directed by Rodrigo Cortes who previously made a hit titled ¨Buried¨ .
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2/10
Terrible movie from start to finish
dankoni17 September 2012
Warning: Spoilers
I honestly don't how, or why, this "film" made it beyond a random thought in some idiot's drug addled brain. The entire concept is flawed. I read in another post that the director did a great deal of research because he wanted the film to be "believable?" Are you kidding? This is, without a doubt, one of the worst movies I have ever seen... and that's including what plays behind the hilarious characters of MST3K. The only reason to sit through this train wreck is if you are really stoned and want something to dissect and laugh at.

At one point about halfway into the film, I commented to my wife, "Maybe De Niro is just a regular, old, blind guy and all of this is in his head. A sort of fantasy he made up to entertain himself as he trudges through the daily routine." It was supposed to be a joke, but a testament to the awful reality of the script was my wife's response: "That would actually be a better idea for a movie!"

Honestly, we only finished watching for two reasons: 1) We were having a great time making fun of it. 2) We wanted to see what laughable "twist" was coming at the end. The twist did not disappoint. **SPOILERS** De Niro wasn't really blind. OOOHHHHHHH!!! Couldn't see that one coming ten thousand miles away. The second twist? I'll let you find out, but it's just silly and certainly not worth sitting through the film, if that's the only reason you're still watching after the first 20 minutes.

Now this section will contain many SPOILERS, as I want to respond to some of the more ridiculous plot points:

1. Is this supposed to be some alternate reality, as other reviewers have stated, where any of the subject matter of this script actually matters... to anyone? If so, they did not do a good job of establishing this fact. The movie makes it seems as though psychic frauds are PLAGUING the world and must be fought with the fervor of the war on terror, or the drug war. Which, incidentally I do not agree with, but at least those would make sense for a movie plot.

2. De Niro is supposed to be some master villain, hellbent on destroying people's lives, but they never really cover any terrible act he's committing. Ohhhh... he's a fraud who fleeces people for money... AND?! Who gives a sh!7? Am I supposed to care that much about idiots giving their money to a conman? He's no worse than a televangelist. Did they show him raping women and children? Was he shown stealing money from thousands of sick and poor people? No. So who cares what some hack psychic does with his time?

3. The scene where they bust the fraudulent faith healer is hilarious. First, Sigourney and Cillian are using some high-tech spy gear to bust the guy, and for some reason the police are with them. OK. When the bust occurs, the director makes a half-assed attempt to make it look like the whole production is being run by biker meth dealing types? I assume that's what he was going for. The bust concludes with the cops hauling the faith healer off to prison... for... I'm not sure. In this world, I guess being a faith healer is some major crime that gets you locked away for life? I doubt they even broke any laws, scummy as the characters might be.

4. Sigourney Weaver's death. WTF? Did those people on the talk show kill her? Cillian just finds her dead after the talk show got out of hand. And why are they portraying the talk show appearance as though it would matter at all? In most believable worlds, Sigourney's appearance would be little more than an episode of some daytime talk show, or a blurb in a TLC programs on debunking paranormal claims. Yet, Cillian is watching this event unfold on his television screen as though he's watching a State of the Union address, or some debate that has ANY consequences to important matters. Again... who cares? Cillian's character, I guess. The audience sure wasn't lead to a place of caring by this point in the script.

5. Near the end of the film, the "scientist" who ran the experiment on De Niro is about to publish his findings that the demonstrated psychic phenomena was real. This is supposed to be a HUGE deal for some reason, that ONE scientist at ONE university published a study. This also goes against the point other reviewers posted that this script takes place in a universe where everyone is interested in the paranormal and the public widely believes in paranormal abilities. If that is the case, then why would this study be a big deal? I think this point shows that the writer/director wanted this script to take place in the real world, which is absolute insanity. Anyway... back to the topic. This scene is ridiculous! Scientist publish controversial findings all the time. The movie acts as though the second this study is signed and published, the world as we know it will come to an end. Up will become down. Black will become white. Yadda yadda. Who... gives... a... sh17?! Studies like this one HAVE been published in the real world and no one cared. So... why would anyone care about a fictionalization of a common occurrence? It's all just so terrible.

"Review" continued below...
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9/10
Something new, something worth watching
Max Keswick15 June 2012
I was not expecting this movie to be the awesomeness that it was. De Niro and Weaver were the only reason I wanted to watch this movie, but I am glad I did!

This movie attacks the tired old concept of 'is ESP real?' with new vigour, new ideas and explanations. Not a single shot of the movie is unnecessary or a 'filler' shot. And none of the 'scary movie' theatrics to keep you on edge.

It has the right story line, right people and the right scenes to take you where it wants to take you, without the additional drama, not that it doesn't have some clever twists.

This is a 'clever' movie, doesn't spell out everything for you, makes you want to watch it carefully so as to not miss a thing. All in all, its one of the best thriller movies I have seen.

I completely recommend watching it!
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1/10
What a disappointment!
weciii21 December 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Crap - plain and simple. What started out as an interesting look at real, rational people trying to drag our society out of the mental dark ages, turned into a movie that ended on a credulous, cheap plot twist. One of the debunking rationalists was...wait for it... A PSYCHIC! I have never been more disappointed in a movie in my life! Again, What started out as an interesting look at real, rational people trying to drag our society out of the mental dark ages, turned into a movie that ended on a credulous, cheap plot twist. One of the debunking rationalists was...wait for it... A PSYCHIC! I have never been more disappointed in a movie in my life!
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4/10
Not impressed. Too hollow, self-conflicting, unfulfilled
Hamish Joy21 September 2012
Unimpressed. I liked the theme that the movie was hinting towards in the beginning. Scientists evaluating and debunking pseudo-science and psychic phenomena. Reminded me of the Great James Randi. But within minutes, it was clear that even that aspects are mangled up. Some investigations are shown without the results/ explanations given in detail. The debunks are simplistic, and talk about some of the common/ popular psychic cons, but never in detail; I wonder if people would catch it unless they are already familiar with the cons via documentaries and other shows.

I was particularly irritated about how they administered the Astrology chart test devised by James Randi, and popularized via "Pen & Teller: Bulls**t" episode. Cilian Murphy's character administered the test, and then left the scene without explaining the point of the exercise, which is a shame.

I liked Sigourney Weaver's character in the beginning, but the character turned out to be so poorly threshed out; not a lot better than a caricature of a pseudo-science skeptic.

I understand a lot of people have problems with the movie's ending. I can understand the frustration. The climactic twist takes away from the central premise, it reminded me of 'The Reaping' in some way. And besides being incongruous to the main storyline, it further had the problem of being very poorly executed.

Overall, I'd rate it around 4 out of 10. Not great.
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5/10
One trick pony
joshua kit22 September 2012
Surprisingly little actually happens in this movie, which Sigorney Weaver and Robert DeNiro presumably made for an easy paycheck. No one would confuse this with an Oscar contender.

I won't spoil the ending in this review. Actually, there's rather little to spoil. The movie plods along with tense music until literally the very end, when the great secret is finally revealed.

Visually, there's some nice design in the film. The acting isn't bad, but there's no real memorable performances either.

Watch this if you have nothing else to do.

Anyway, that's it. This is just an extra line to meet IMDb's criteria :-)
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1/10
Red-lights district of modern cinema.
Alex Di19 September 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Yes, yes, spoiler alert, yada yada yada. The movie as a whole is a genuine piece of manure, due to one thing and one thing only: the finale, and as I will continue to preach on and on - the movie's only as good as its ending. That's what I call an axiom of good film making. However if you happen to disagree, read no further as the rest of this film is actually pretty good. Maybe you can fantasize an ending that doesn't suck and settle on that. I did make up a much better ending that was actually somewhat intelligent unlike the ending we have received, but I will not settle on an imaginary ending, it's simply not my responsibility, it is the screenplay writer's one. The rules of engagement are elementary: a creator has to be criticised for his half-good job.

"Red Lights" starts out promising enough. We have two physicists from a "Myth Busters" science division, rolling around the country in their "Mystery Van" (it's not really a van). They keep exposing one small charlatan after another, passing their knowledge and experience to a small group of students in the time between their supernatural escapades.

There is another, rather unusual branch of science on the other side of the unknown university our meddling scientists work for (suffice to say: it's no Cambridge). That division is more akin to being the "Weird Al Yankovic" of science, rather than "Myth Busters". The so-called "Scientific Paranormal Research Centre" (emphasis on the word "scientific") which of course takes in triple the money our protagonists receive from the government (a plot-point that goes nowhere by the way) and of which the boss is shown to be a complete fool by my favourite actress of all time Sigourney Weaver in a matter of mere seconds... And then she dies, that point being? Who knows? Not me, certainly. Oh, yes, she establishes De Niro to be the big bad wolf of the picture just before she does. That point being? I feel like we're falling into repetition here.

Cillian Murphy goes completely insane, obsessing over De Niro, trying to expose him as a fraud. All the weird things start happening around Cillian as the plot thickens: suicidal birds, toasters blowing up, cement dust falling on him, unusual dreams and so on and so forth, following every single line in the great book of "horror" movie clichés. None of which would've bothered me that much, as I grew accustomed to the Hollywood clichés, on one condition: provided the rest of the film is adequate. Which sadly it is not.

Then comes the crescendo and suddenly the film is on its head. The ending makes such a sudden 180-degrees turn, the "twist" is so nonsensical and stupid that it gives "Magnolia" a run for its money (not talking about De Niro being able to see, I figured it out long before, since that part actually makes sense).

Ready for the big reveal? Cillian Murphy is actually a powerful psychic himself and all the strange happenings were his doing (De Niro is of course a nobody, which once again makes perfect sense). "Tactical facepalm", you have got to be kidding me. Somebody please poke me, have I suddenly been teleported into a screening of a completely different movie next door? What's with all the morality of a woman dying of a stomach cancer, due to a quack "psychic" telling her those pains are irrelevant (here we fall into a debate as to who is a legitimate "psychic" and who isn't)? What happened to Cillian and his student being the last barrier between the world and stupidity? Furthermore: what's with the "idea" of divine presence? The existence of paranormality does not prove afterlife and there being a god in the slightest. Isn't Cillian supposed to be a scientist, a scientist that is able to use a basic logical reasoning like that? This film had just been elevated onto an entirely new level of mental retardation. The only thing that's missing to complete the landscape is Murphy flying away into the sunrise, Copperfield style, which unfortunately did not happen.

Oh, yeah and the watch should not be there in the first place (a "controlled" experiment, remember, we even had a scene), but so does the "Scientific Paranormal Research Centre", so why am I complaining? Also, did you notice that I didn't mention the girlfriend? Well, neither did I, since she's so secondary to the story.

It's blatantly obvious that Rodrigo Cortes traded his brains for a pinch of faith a long time ago, him trying to come off as deep is just pathetic. I do realize that this film isn't really mocking sceptics, rather trying to establish a "paradigm shift" however childish it might be, or maybe I'm wrong and Cortes is doing exactly that. Either way this film is probably not worth your time. It can be entertaining sometimes, but entertainment is cheap and the substance is not. Substance you shall not find here, or rather you shall, but that substance is twisted, which is a lot worse. Yes and please do not mistake fringe science for pseudo-science. Fringe science can become good science, pseudo-science cannot.
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5/10
I'm seeing red!
lloyd-constable-118 June 2012
Warning: Spoilers
I can sum up this mess of a film in a few short paragraphs:

Sigourney Weaver was amazing. A brilliant performance a kin to her role in Copy Cat as Criminal Psychologist Helen Hudson. Weaver plays Margaret Matheson, a no nonsense style professional out to help people understand that paranormal abilities are not real. Sigourney's role is abruptly cut short after 35 mins - for no reason!

Funnily enough after Matheson dies, the film just nose dives into a bowl of mess. Cillan is weak, De Niro is just appalling. Rodrigo Cortés has no control over the movie at all. I'm not even quite sure what happened in some scenes.

This film could have been something brilliant, if Weaver was the lead and focused on her character. I don't want to see this film again.
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7/10
Energetic, accessible, engrossing
karmaswimswami24 June 2014
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.
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7/10
Well done. But, I had a hard time suspending disbelief and just watching.
chrisarnt16 December 2013
Warning: 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.
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1/10
Don't perservere!
Bea T23 January 2015
This was the worst film i have seen in a long time! None of the characters are relatable, the focus of the storyline is unbelievable and uninterestingly developed. The film Goes off on tangents that make no sense, had characters that serve no purpose and an ending that completely discredits it's whole premise! Considering the Well respected actors, i stuck it out hoping it would get better, but it doesn't! On top of this, even these respected actors can do nothing to make this film look good, in fact this film and its storyline make them look like B grade actors in a C grade film. Please, don't waste your time. It Will be nothing but wasted.
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8/10
The first film in years where I didn't see the ending coming. Utterly brilliant.
The_Dead_See7 July 2013
Warning: 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.
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7/10
Poor Man's 6th sense
buddybhupender19 September 2012
Don't be discouraged with the summary of my review!! i am merely stating the fact that if the studio had been more enthu about the project it would had been a successor to the movies like inception or the prestige!! I saw this movie and i was quite excited about it simply because the plot was somehow familiar yet original..in the sense of their connection with the basic idea of a typical human life's struggle to understand the unexplained phenomena of para or divine potential of human mind which has been never proved or rejected completely in modern science.

The starting of the movie might not appeal to most of the people as i also felt that the initial 10-12 minutes were not a good way to begin which simply never connected with the main theme of the movie...but as i said it was ambiguous yet was connected to the movie within the very first thirty minutes or so..yet most of the audience might go with me on this that it was not a good way to start the movie...may be the writing had to be more experimental or visionary to scout a new scenario to feel more majestic enough to build a sense of connectivity with the modern day conflict to accept or reject the thought of something superior than science.

But never the less the script yet had enough material to keep the interest of mine going..i was dying to know what actually is gonna happen..thought i might like to add that these movies are totally driven from plot or the thought process yet some clever direction and sound effects and nice acting made it possible for me to enjoy this movie..i will not say it is great but it is decent enough to share with people you know...but don't want to compare it with inception or other psychological thriller of recent times...but still i was not happy the way studio has never taken it seriously.

A good budget might have ensured it a more improved run on the predecided media but overall it is still a good watch. I would like to say that Cillian Murphy(Red Eye fame) amazed me with me his performance.

Robert De Nero was typical and Sigourney Weaver also done her part well. There was nothing to do much for others.

Overall movie does have its predictable nature but one had to be smart enough to figure it.

My only complaint is that it had potential but the production house never was excited about it so it is a just one time watch.

Watch it and you will not be disappointed but may not feel entertained like inception or the prestige or the 6th sense.

A brilliant effort despite the production constraints!!! 7/10
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1/10
How did you do that ??
Schuriken26 November 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Terrible movie, actually did nothing for me. I would rather watch Home Alone again it has more meaning than Red Lights.

An earthquaking scientist unveils a showman's weakness toward true power...what is the point of that.

Shaking the camera and that's supposed to intrigue the audience after 100 years of film making techniques....?

DeNiro is not suitable for the role. Very talented actor, very poorly filmed. Weaver's hair stylist should be fired. Maybe the movie themes are starting to get more extreme and the old actors are not cut out for it.

Nothing happens through out the entire movie you're just waiting for the ending credits. Sad thing is DeNiro is in this movie.
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6/10
1/2
Bharat Samra5 July 2012
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.
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10/10
Filmmaking excellence
María Urné30 April 2012
Probably no film deserves 10 points (what film is perfect?), but I'm giving this maximum score to Red Lights because of its cinematic braveness and its improbable success at becoming a genre film an study of human contradiction. A mixture of The parallax view, Brian de Palma, Angel Heart, David Lynch and other perfect references, wisely mixed with a whole original personal voice, Red Lights is a unique cinema piece on its own with truly amazing performances. I still cannot understand how Rodrigo Cortés could do something this compelling and profound with the tools of a scientific supernatural thriller. It's shocking how small other good genre films look when they're compared to this one, that brings the genre back to its golden 70s years.
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6/10
A Good Movie Destroyed by the Awful Rushed Conclusion
Claudio Carvalho22 December 2012
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")
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