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Red Lights
Year:
2012
Country:
USA, Spain
Genre:
Drama, Thriller, Mystery, Horror
IMDB rating:
6.2
Director:
Rodrigo Cortés
Robert De Niro as Simon Silver
Peter Brooke as Reporter #1
Jan Cornet as David Matheson
Elizabeth Olsen as Sally Owen
Jeany Spark as Traci Northrop
Gina Bramhill as Judi Cale
Eugenio Mira as Young Simon Silver
Eloise Webb as Susan Sidgwick
Leonardo Sbaraglia as Palladino
Madeleine Potter as Sarah Sidgwick
Cillian Murphy as Tom Buckley
Sigourney Weaver as Margaret Matheson
Garrick Hagon as Howard McColm
Jesse Bostick as TV Boy
Toby Jones as Paul Shackleton
Burn Gorman as Benedict Cohen
Joely Richardson as Monica Handsen
Nathan Osgood as Michael Sidgwick
Mitchell Mullen as Jim Carroll
Storyline: The skeptical psychologist Dr. Margaret Matheson and her assistant, physicist Tom Buckley, are specialists in disclosing fraudulent paranormal phenomena. When the famous psychic Simon Silver reappears to his public after many years of absence, Tom becomes singularly obsessed in determining whether Silver is a fraud or not.
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Reviews
Spanish-US co-production about scientists who attempt to debunk fake healers
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¨ .
2013-01-01
Ignore the critics, watch this film! Taut, gripping thriller work!
Cillian Murphy and Sigourney Weaver are a pair of university lecturers by day, and moonlight as supernatural sleuths, revealing the fraud of supposed psychics everywhere and boasting of their success to anyone who will listen. When a world-famous psychic, "Silver", comes to town on a final tour before his retirement, Murphy is determined to prove he is just as much a fraudster as those who have come before him. But, as the twists pile up, everything is not as it seems. What starts out as a rather dull version of "Insidious", evolves into a poignant and charismatic thriller that will have you guessing and chasing the truth alongside the films protagonists. It is a breath of fresh air that has been diligently written to keep you glued to the screen from start to finish. Little crumbs are left scattered in the first act to hint at the conclusive revelation, but you will never see it coming. "Red Lights" is reluctant to resort to set pieces and special effects and manages to squeeze a whole-lot of suspense and entertainment out of its engrossing story, remaining both emotionally taut and intellectually sound at the same time. Quite why most critics have condemned the film is beyond me. Make up your own mind, but if there's one thing you do, watch Red Lights for yourself!
2012-09-28
Starts well but ends badly
I have always been interested in movies about psychics and other abilities. This movie doesn't really do anything groundbreaking with regard to these subjects. But it does manage to entertain to some extent.

One of the strong points about this movie is the presence of talented actors like Robert de niro, Cilian murphy and Sigourney weaver. Robert de niro does impress and gives a creepy performance as the enigmatic Silver. Towards the end, there are some hammy scenes which appear jarring. Cilian murphy has done a good job and he is the central character of the movie.

The last part of the movie is quite disappointing. The melodramatic scenes, the predictable twists, the hammy acting were all quite irritating. The twist doesn't make much sense since we can actually guess that Silver does have some abilities, at least in the earlier years. It is just far too difficult for him to pull it off. There are too many things which remain unresolved for me to take the twist seriously. Even then the twist is still predictable because of all the foreshadowing throughout the movie.

I still give it a 5 because of some good performances and the fact that it didn't put me to sleep.
2014-11-15
Some good twists, some poor twists and some excellent actors
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
2012-06-23
Worth it, just for the actors
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.

http://thewrongtreemoviereviews.blogspot.co.uk/
2014-05-15
clever thriller with great performances
Red Lights poses intriguing queries about the existence of psychic phenomena and afterlife and is actually a clever thriller, certainly favored by three great performances. The film changes and in my opinion improves with Matheson's departure from the scene, getting Buckley to become fully obsessed and allowing the always expressive Murphy to explore a full scale of emotions. The second part of the movie — when unexplained things start happening — shows a cat-and-mouse battle between the two parts Murphy and De Niro - who's rarely been more chilling and mysterious (probably never so scary since Angel Heart). The ending features a twist that will have you either replaying the film in your head or considering a return visit to the theater. Red Lights is in the end an intricate film which will leave the viewers satisfied.
2012-11-12
More unintentionally meta than unintentionally comical
Most times, a very good film will leave me pondering it well into the next day with key scenes replaying in my mind.

Apparently a certain type of bad film can affect me the same way. 12 hours and a full night's sleep after the closing strains of "HOW DID YOU DO THAT!!??," (side note: please stick a fork in De Niro) I find myself reeling and puzzled to the point of signing up to write my first ever film review for "Red Lights."

"How did you do that?" is the question on my mind for several people (both those involved in the movie and those who have watched it and enjoyed it); perhaps even more for the film itself... How did the screenplay make it through the entire process? How did this film earn such a high rating on IMDb? How has this film captured my attention so strongly without being enjoyable?

The film has a strong start and an interesting premise but the screenplay may well be a product of that game where everybody adds a sentence to a story. It progressively becomes sillier and more incongruent, ignorant to its own content, trying to outwit me without being clever. The story is full of unnecessary, tangential, malformed bits of plot that treat the viewer like an idiot to the point of annoyance.

Even if I were to accept that spoonbenders can have the same celebrity status as Michael Jackson, and that some university funds two departments dedicated to the paranormal; one to prove and one to debunk, and that there could be some hyperagressive skeptics who are as bent out of shape as that table of spoons in the lab, and that a "plant" can be part of a "controlled study" even with a hack scientist, and that sinks and toilet bowls break like glass, that faith healing is illegal if proved to be fake, and that one scientist signing one study has the gravity of the President signing a piece of legislation...

Even if I accept all that and dozens of other things both impossible and implausible within the world presented in this film, I am made to feel like someone doesn't think I'm paying attention, or worse yet, that I keep leaving the room and walking back and asking someone what just happened, because the characters act like an irritating friend that is constantly explaining what just happened. This is especially annoying when any half intelligent person should be two steps ahead throughout the entire film... "He's not really blind," "Throw something at him to prove he isn't blind," "I bet the watch has something to do with the test results," etc.

In fact, the entire end of the movie is an explanation of the movie that nobody needed. Why can't we take "How did you do that?" and move on? Murphy's character could have been killed by falling debris in the arena full of tens of thousands of spoonbender fans (none who bothered to run when the place was collapsing), therefore unable to deliver his final monologue, and the film would have been just as effective at bringing closure... to the A plot that is. I still don't know why we needed the automatic painting scene, or why Murphy's and Olsen's characters live in the lab, or why they had romantic ties at all, or who killed Matheson, or what the point of the comatose son is. Perhaps the comatose son can return in a sequel for an epic psychic battle against Buckley (who, being responsible for "everything," must have killed Matheson; motive for revenge). I would recommend a montage where the Junior Matheson is trained by Silver and has some kind of astral projection superpower learned while in coma. De Niro will likely be available again.

As for Silver's dialogue... I wish DeNiro's character had been written as a real mute instead of a fake blind man.

I could write an entire volume on the story's logical, narrative, and technical flaws and have just started doing so, against my own wishes (perhaps next my phone will ring with nobody on the other end and a random tough is awaiting me in the bathroom). It has them all in spades.

To the point of my summary, it's not one of those films that's so-bad- it's-good/funny. If there were a spoonbending superstar genre of film outside of this, the Wayans brothers could have made very minor tweaks to this script and had a film of their own. But it's the durgey score, serious tone of the actors, and "what's-around-the-corner?" cinematography that make this thing seem pretentious and trite. The fact that this movie seems to be either hated or kind-of-liked raises an interesting question in my mind about what makes people enjoy a movie. Is it possible that the score, tone, seriousness, and camera-work, along with a "twist" of an ending are enough for some? I mean no offense to those that like this movie, but it could have a lot to say about film as genre and how it's received.

If this film has done anything, it's left me feeling unnecessarily enraged and wrapped up with trivial nonsense, when I should just click 1 Star, say I don't subscribe to it, and let everyone else enjoy it as they will. In this, I relate strongly to the movie's protagonist. This is quite an impressive trick, and enough to earn the film an extra star in my review.

If you want to see a film that touches on similar subject matter and premise but doesn't employ armies of scientists, pointless rage, and public fueds between believers and nonbelievers, watch "The Skeptic." That film exists in a (more) normal world, and is driven by good characters and a tight story, not sensationalism and Shyamalanian diversions.
2014-03-22
An intelligent mystery
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.
2012-06-21
great idea, mediocre directing
Sigourney Weaver is a skeptical psychologist Dr. Margaret Matheson and Cillian Murphy is her assistant, physicist Tom Buckley. They are specialists in debunking frauds.

Robert De Niro is psychic Simon Silver. He is the one that got away, and reappears after years of absence. Can they prove his fraudulent ways once and for all?

Something happens halfway thru the movie that drains away much of the tension. But it's still able to move along.

The biggest problem is the mediocre directing from Spanish director Rodrigo Cortés. He's just hasn't directed any big budget films.
2013-08-26
Good in theory...
I really wanted to like this movie. And I was with them for the first half. But the second half was utterly boring, confusing, and really derailed the suspense of the film.

2012's "Red Lights", directed by Rodrigo Cortes and starring Sigourney Weaver, Robert De Niro, and Cillian Murphy, begins with an extremely high-suspense séance scene. Weaver and Murphy are working together to attempt to prove the medium and the paranormal activity is fraudulent- an interesting twist to watch them use the same equipment and techniques as other paranormal "researchers" we've seen in other films who are trying to find positive evidence. The scene quickly shows the deep professional connection and expertise of the two scientists, who despite frightening bangs and an enthusiastic hairdresser-turned-medium, easily expose the young daughter as the culprit and the hairdresser's tricks. It's engaging to watch them work well together, and even begin to probe deeper into the mismatched pair's pasts as reasons for their intense desire to disprove the existence of real paranormal activity.

However with the sudden reappearance of the only person to ever give Sigourney Weaver's character cause to doubt herself and her beliefs, De Niro's blind psychic Silver, the story totally goes off track. I get the idea of having Weaver, the master scientist, confront her old enemy and fail, causing the apprentice (Murphy) to have to pick up where she left off and prove Silver a fraud. The execution of this, unfortunately, is awkward at best. Murphy's personal and professional judgment become increasingly derailed, and we don't get any further insight into his meltdown or how he figures out Silver's weaknesses. By the later half of the film I had completely lost interest, and even when I tried to refocus my attention to figure out how he was going to catch Silver, it was too confusing for me to pick it back up.

The good: Most performances are believable and expert (although I kept waiting for Cillian Murphy to go stalking someone in his scarecrow mask...), the beginning séance is a great twist on the paranormal phenomena idea, and the student/teacher dynamic moves the plot along through the first half.

The bad: confusing second half, De Niro's somewhat bumbling performance (I wasn't convinced Silver was smarter than the scientists or menacing at all), weird unexplored romance between Murphy's character and one of Weaver's students, unfocused and unappealing second half as Murphy's character slowly descends into an impotent, whiny, nut job.

http://romyandmichellefreakout.blogspot.com/
2013-03-20
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