Psychologist Margaret Matheson and her assistant study paranormal activity, which leads them to investigate a world-renowned psychic who has resurfaced years after his toughest critic mysteriously passed away.
Sometimes you come across a movie that’s in production and you get excited by the talent involved. With Cillian Murphy in the role of Tom Buckley, the aforementioned assistent to Sigourney Weaver’s Margaret, they investigate Robert De Niro as Simon Silver, a world-renowned psychic. And with those 3 names in a row, you are probably catching my drift regarding the ‘getting excited’ part.
Without doubt, the cast and it’s director Rodrigo Cortes (the guy who made the ‘movie in a box’ ‘Buried’ with Ryan Reynolds) are the highlights of this flawed movie. Director Cortes knows how to create a scene and it shows in a lot of moments in ‘Red Lights’. He manages to steer away from the tried and true formula of paranormal investigators, and with the help of great performances from Murphy and Weaver, they manage to create a believable pair of people who aren’t your average ‘ghosthunters’.
The problem I had with this movie is quite hard to explain, like mentioned: the actors do an admirable job, and even Robert De Niro, who has made a string of bad movies over the last ten years or so, gives a good performance. It’s ironically enough, the point where his character gets in the spotlight, that the movie starts to fall apart. For roughly 70 percent of the time, we get a great story about 2 people who are intrigued in explaining various paranormal phenomena. Their personal relation, as well as the addition of the only talented Olsen spawn we know of (Elizabeth Olsen) in a supporting role along with Toby Jones, really make it worth your while, and for the first 80 minutes of the movie, it felt like a little gem in the making.
But once Simon Silver returns to give his performances, the movie switches from an interesting drama/thriller into a uninspired horror movie. You could see it coming from a mile away, that Simon Silver naturally was the guy that would have ‘real psychic’ powers as opposed to the frauds we saw before. And even though, that’s not entirely how the story plays out, the cheap shock effects and the rather forced ending, make you feel as if somebody told Cortes: ‘you’re doing great, but we need the final cut tomorrow’.
It’s a shame though, with all the talent involved and with great performances all round, this could have become quite the cult hit amongst fans of a performance.
I say this, not in a snobbish way, since most people seem to be geared towards seeing shit explode instead of watching an actor actually act. It’s at times a relatively slow paced movie, and that looks to be something that isn’t accepted any more amongst a large crowd in a theater.
Anyway, to round things off, is this worth your time? yes, if you love the talent involved and if you can live with a movie that doesn’t quite live up to it’s first hour, this is worth your time.
Director Cortes has shown us once more that he knows how to make a movie and I think he has a promising future ahead of him.
Red Lights, flawed but enjoyable.