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|Index||139 reviews in total|
From the absurd premise, to the paper thin characters, the awkward, self-conscious dialog and the oh so contrived plot, this movie is a steamer. God knows how Weaver and De Niro were persuaded to slum it in this one, I only watched it to the end because I am perverse, I had to know if it maintained its pitiful level to the last frame. I was not disappointed on that count. The movie set up is about debunking the paranormal but inserts so much low grade film trickery and pseudoscience that it becomes spectacularly absurd. The use of elapse of time and or dramatics to cover up non sequiturs in logic and narrative stood out like a sore thumb. The unbelievable plot, unconvincing characters and ham handed effects all congealed to prevent my suspension of disbelief almost from the beginning.
What a half-baked movie of shop worn silliness and dated parapsychology
investigative techniques. An uninformed script that is insulting to
skeptics and believers alike. A highly offensive film that is neither
entertaining or enlightening. Just inept in all respects.
The unveiling of the star psychic, the troublesome "scientific" investigation they put him through, the inclusion of so many ridiculous and lame expositions (she the wise one informs the scientist that the reflection in his glasses was being used to deceive), and the ending is so utterly annoying, that it probably won't matter because by then the film has lost all credibility and reveals itself to be a sham.
The existence and the study of the paranormal is virtually vacant in the mainstream media and academia, and making the subject legitimate and worthy of serious investigation is not helped when even a fictional Hollywood story can't make the intriguing case that "something is going on here", there is very little hope that it ever will. This movie is a monumental mess.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Frankly the film is very bad. The ending is particularly terrible. What a twist! he is psychic himself God repeating it at least 10 times! OK we understood we are not in denial at all us The ending is made actually like a video clip. Same on editing, cut into confetti on Robert De Niro 's face to make the impression there is something scary going on. But the magical trick does not work here. It's just an other movie you will forget instantly after viewing. Seeing Sigourney Weaver was my only comfort here. So much money, so many great actors for that always so disappointing to see such waste. On denial, better watch the masterpiece Don't look now by Nicolas Roeg than this very bad movie.
Red Lights is a film about people who debunk fake psychics and the
like. Dr Margaret Matheson (Sigourney Weaver) and Tom Buckley (Cillian
Murphy) are academics in a poorly funded university department. Right
at the beginning we see them take down a séance in a reputedly haunted
house and then later discuss some of the tricks of the trade to their
When a once famous blind mentalist and psychic Simon Silver (Robert De Niro) comes out from a three decade self imposed exile, Margaret and Tom are determined to expose him as a fraud.
The film starts off promisingly enough, great acting from Weaver which makes you wonder why Murphy is first billed but then this becomes clear later on. Silver is sold to you as a Uri Geller type of person and I believe that a double for De Niro was used for his younger scenes that were very convincing.
The narrative starts to fall apart as Tom becomes for whatever reason obsessed on taking down Silver and Margaret is then sidelined from the picture. We then head to a third act where Silver prepares for some scientific tests done by an academic, Professor Shackleton (Toby Jones) at the same university as Margaret and Tom. Well we know this laboratory conditions scrutiny is not going to go well as Margaret exposed Shackleton as incompetent earlier in the film. So it is left to Tom and his team to find out how Silver works his box of tricks.
The film wants you to believe Silver is sinister rather than just a charlatan and has a twist lined up which makes little sense even if you work the film backwards.
The film just has too much silliness which keeps sending it off the rails and Murphy cannot carry the film on its own when Weaver is sidelined.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I don't usually bother reviewing films that I simply don't like, but in
this case since it started off with such AWESOME promise and then took
a HORRIBLE turn towards the end, I just HAD to leave my comments. The
first hour was incredible! The last 30-40 minutes, I just stared
unbelieving at the screen with a permanent 'WTF' on my face...
It's weird, I've seen a few films EXACTLY like this; they start off excellent, I mean every nuance, direction, etc., is bloody perfect. And then, it's like the director just bowed out and handed the film over to some gaffer or something. I frigg'n SWEAR that is exactly how it struck me ***SPOILERS: The greatly belabored scene in the bathroom, the incredible mind-numbingly AWFUL speech and dialog when confronting Silver. *** END SPOILERS. I mean it, I'm not trying to be rude or capricious or anything, but I SERIOUSLY just sat here amazed and speechless that a film with such a beautiful and gripping start could go SO SO terribly wrong.
The acting up to that point was excellent. And, the story was cleverly handled, really involving the audience, right up until it drastically changed. At least this is how it personally struck me.
I guess some others here genuinely liked it and even compare it to one of my all time favourites 'UNBREAKABLE'. I guess what it is maybe is the basic idea and plot and first 2/3 were dead on, but I suppose it is just the WAY the ending specifically was done honestly completely ruined it for me. I think where I noticed a very abrupt change in mood, and a ***HUGE*** drop in quality, especially in the dialog, was right at the point that Cillian (sp?) was telling that student to check the recordings of the testings. I mean PRECISELY at that point it's just like some amateur took over; the way he was talking and the student kept stupidly and awkwardly interrupting him. From right there on, the rest was just a weird, dumb mish-mash, there's no explaining it...
Most strange... And sadly, terribly disappointing.
Oh, and just to note, to me anyway it wasn't that ***SPOILERS: Cillian turned out to have these powers; that really doesn't bother me as it did some here. *** END SPOILERS. I didn't even really mind the plot holes or jump scares because up to that point, the story was moving along well and fully captivating. Actually, NOTHING about the basic plot or story is wrong at all, just the bloody awful WAY it was handled from the point I mentioned on to the end. If the quality had been maintained EXACTLY the same way as it had before and if they had just done the ending better, it could have really been great!
Margaret Matheson (Sigourney Weaver) and her protégé Tom Buckley
(Cillian Murphy) are two scientists who have made their work out of
debunking people who call themselves paranormally gifted. They believe
there is a scientific explanation for everything and try their best to
essentially prove that all psychics are frauds. However, they meet
their match in the form of a legendary psychic, Simon Silver (Robert
DeNiro). Buckley and Matheson start a witch hunt to uncover Silver, who
in turns tries his best to convince the world of his psychic powers.
The premise of Red Lights is interesting, to say the least.
The story starts believable and unravels in a steady pace in the first hour of the film. There is also no shortage of tension. Effective use of lighting and clever cinematography help to create an eerie atmosphere that is present during the entire film. Director Rodrigo Cortés knows how to build suspense and character. He proved this in his earlier film Buried (2010), which revolved around a single man in a coffin who was buried alive.
However, the characters and tension all go to waste after the first half of the film, when a sudden and blunt plot twist breaks the neck of the entire film. The potential of great actors DeNiro and Weaver is completely wasted when an awful script and shoddy directing leave no room for character growth. The rest of the film lies on Murphy's shoulders, a burden much too heavy for him to bear and while his character is interesting up until the last five minutes of the film, he also falls prey to the desire of Cortés to create a second The Sixth Sense. The final part of the film features a 'great reveal' which is undoubtedly meant as a shocker to the public, but instead it falls completely flat and it even feels like a spit in the face of the viewer. It is an ending so out of left field that it sours the experience of the entire film.
Red Lights is not necessarily bad, the first half is decent with great suspense and interesting characters, but it completely fails when the director tries much to hard to shock its audience with absurd plot twists and an ending that essentially mocks the entire story itself. Sure, the films has a few impressive moments, like the opening scene and some of Silver's antics on stage, but truly unnerving moments are nowhere to be found. What's left is a film with a complete lack of sense of direction, with no respect for the potentially fantastic cast.
Tom Buckley (Cillian Murphy), a seemingly misplaced assistant, searches
for something he doesn't believe in at first. He teams with mentor
psychologist, Margaret Matheson (Sigourney Weaver) as she toils at the
end of a 30-year career, debunking any and all paranormal activities
that come her way. When Simon Silver (Robert De Niro), a dangerous
psychic, comes out of retirement, even the non-believer Margaret warns
Tom to keep his distance. Tom instead becomes obsessed with Silver, for
reasons unknown at first, and risks everything to uncover the truth
about his abilities.
Tom's first attempt to defraud Silver goes terribly wrong. He ignores an internal struggle and focuses all of his energy on disproving Silver, believing he is the cause. Silver, meanwhile, exits the stage to debunk the de-bunkers and arranges for a scientific study to prove his powers are real. The two of them go toe-to-toe while the scientific community and the world's perception are on the brink of a new, absolute truth: psychic powers are as real as the air we breathe. Down but not out, Tom knows this now, but not in the way we expect.
The setup is thrilling and performances are solid, but the back of the Blu-Ray case should read "mind-blowing confusion" instead of "conclusion". The real twist is that 110 tasty minutes of psychological treats are ruined in the last 3 minutes with paranormal tricks. Unfair storytelling delivers the last blow as we're beaten into submission by the writer/director and his brutal, overly-complex ending of this potentially visionary tale.
'Red Lights' is an odd film; it is about paranormal fraud and the
exploitation of the vulnerable.
The script overall is good but unfortunately the ending spoils it all; the plot takes its time but it is very interesting, clever and well-written. The ending however is rushed, messy and just bizarre. The dialogue, particularly between Cillian Murphy and Sigourney Weaver was excellent and really well thought out but it couldn't save the film.
There's a great cast here but a lot of performances are wasted. Elizabeth Olsen is a fantastic actress but her performance is wasted here, her character was very basic and bland and could have been portrayed by literally anyone. Robert De Niro is well-known for his malicious performances and on paper; this could have been another one. However, his character falls a bit flat when menace is involved. He did try but his character was not written well at all. He could have made his character far nastier but he didn't have enough screen-time and his character had no depth. Both Sigourney Weaver and Cillian Murphy gave fantastic performances. It's just a shame they were wasted on this film however, it would be good to see them both star in a film together again.
Overall, the people who made this film decided it needed a big twist for an ending but the twist made no sense, was totally random and make you think the entire film was pointless. If they ended the film just two minutes earlier it would have been great but it didn't.
Psychology professor Margaret and her sidekick, physics PhD Tom
dedicate themselves to unmask fraudulent claims by psychics and related
supernatural stuff. On their first trip they investigate a 19th century
type séance complete with shaking tables. Next they visit a kid whose
mom claims he can do psychic drawing. Then they go after a faith
healer, who as is well known to anyone alive in the 90s, gets his info
from his assistants via a wireless earpiece.
At the same time, a world-renowned spoon-bender/psychic comes out of a 30 year retirement, which was caused by his critic getting a sudden heart attack. This psychic called Simon is blind and is now touring the country. Margaret knew him from years ago but she and many others warn Tom that he is dangerous and not to mess with him. Tom is eager to unmask Simon, Margaret won't. Then suddenly she dies.
That leaves Tom and a student who fell for him to investigate things. Of course he can't forget about Simon, he's completely obsessed. Strange things start happening to him, that prove how powerful Simon is. Regardless, Tom goes after him, gets a good beating in the process by a stranger and then confronts Simon.
Red Lights refers to things out of the ordinary in a certain situation. Like looking in a crowd of faith healer attendees for the guy who collects information on the patients to pass them on to the phony healer. It starts out like your typical Spanish supernatural movie. It also looks like that, gray colors, loud sounds, children, etc. And perhaps this movie would have worked in Spanish, with Spanish actors for a Spanish audience. This looks like a remake for American audiences but without the translation. The whole séance business is ridiculous in our time. So is the faith healer. This story is 25 years too late.
A bit more excitement is injected in the second act, were Simon decides to submit himself for some reason to a long and detailed study by the universities parapsychology department, I think, that competes with Margaret's psychology department for funds. Simon passes the tests but Tom and some student investigate these tests and have a hard time finding anything wrong, but there is just a little detail that isn't right, just as the researcher is about to announce to the world that Simon is for real.
Plot holes abound in this movie. There are two surprises, one obvious, one less obvious and it all ends with an uplifting pop-psychology message for no good reason. While the concept isn't bad- following scientists out to debunk the paranormal, this movie takes some turns that ruin the whole thing. The movie starts out with a lofty objective goal but then loses itself in some subjective finite personal story that no one cares about. There are several pointless deaths in this movie that don't advance the story in any way. Performances are good overall. DeNiro does a nice job as the dangerous nemesis, Elizabeth Olsen is a revelation. Weaver is kinda unlikeable. Murphy is actually acceptable in this role. The little scientist guy overdoes it too much. Given what this movie could have been, the way it turned out is so disappointing. The writer/director had an idea somewhere but he should have turned the script and direction over to someone else.
Red Lights turned to be almost-there film but the climax made it little
less impacting. Two psychologist Margaret Matheson and Tom Buckley are
foremost investigators on paranormal phenomenon who bust various
fraudulent cases like ghost-hunters, mind- readers and faith-healers.
On his comeback after several years , Simon Silver falls into their
doubt and a thorough research begins on his healing activities.
Directed by Rodrigo Cortes(Buried) , Red Lights embarks on a journey
from Seance till mind-haling depicting the fraudulent in the paranormal
world with utmost sincerity. Right from the very first scene , you will
be sucked into the frame and will keep you engrossed until the climax
which plays the spoilsport(or probably I need to see again to
understand it). The movie is entertaining throughout with few scenes
giving you what-will-happen-next moments. Story has an edge and is
completely different. Direction is strong. Only I could wish climax
would have made it more worth-while. Dialogues are superb and so is the
performances by Sigourney Weaver and Cillian Murphy. Both of them are
outstanding and share a very good chemistry. Robert De Niro is wasted
in a small role.
Overall , a very good entertaining film with different storyline which you would never have witnessed before
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