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Red Lights [DVD] (2012)
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Two investigators of paranormal hoaxes, the veteran Dr. Margaret Matheson (Sigourney Weaver) and her young assistant, Tom Buckley (Cillian Murphy), study the most varied metaphysical phenomena with the aim of proving their fraudulent origin.
Simon Silver (Robert De Niro), a legendary blind psychic, reappears after an enigmatic absence of 30 years to become the greatest international challenge for both orthodox science and professional skeptics.
Tom quickly begins to develop an obsession with Silver, whose magnetism becomes stronger with each new manifestation of inexplicable events. As Tom gets closer to Silver, tension mounts, and his worldview is threatened to its core.
Call them professional skeptics: well-known academic ghostbuster Dr. Margaret Matheson (Sigourney Weaver) and her very focused assistant Tom Buckley (Cillian Murphy) travel around to alleged instances of paranormal activity, the better to debunk such hugger-mugger. A rather large challenge arrives in the form of a long-retired psychic, one Simon Silver (Robert De Niro), a legendary (and quite blind) reader of minds and bender of spoons. This showdown between the forces of rationality and the specter of X-Files-level phenomena gets off to a promising start, as writer-director Rodrigo Cortés stages a few nifty sequences of the debunkers at work. Also nice to see the perpetually haunted Murphy in a lead role, and Weaver's pretty commanding without doing anything fussy. It's therefore a shame that logic flies out the window at a certain point in the storyline (this is a movie with far too many "In that case, why didn't they just do this…" moments), and that the overall approach becomes pointlessly frantic. Cortés did rather nicely with the restrictions of his 2010 feature Buried, which was set entirely in a coffin, but the larger playing field seems to be a greater challenge--and the ending seems a little overdesigned to foment a thousand online arguments. Final sin: wasting Elizabeth Olsen in a completely decorative role. --Robert Horton
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- The well funded paranormal research group (SPRC) that appears to have been unaware of the preceding century of high quality paranormal research and improvements in experimental protocols resulting from this.
- The idea that Occam's Razor is an argument which gives unassailable support to a sceptical viewpoint. The simplest hypothesis is based on currently accepted knowledge, beliefs and social/economic pressures i.e. may not reflect reality. People used to be burned as witches as a result of the simplest hypothesis, then the beliefs and knowledge changed and they weren't anymore (or not in most countries).
- That two men can have the side of their head used to smash a porcelain sink or toilet bowl and everything is just peachy in brainland afterwards. This isn't a comic book action film.
Another review mentioned "1408". That's worth a look.
So all in all Red Light is certainly worth a look - but do avoid spoilers if you want to be kept guessing 'till the film's ending.
I really hope to see more of Murphy in up and coming films as he is a really good actor. Hopefully with roles such as this he will feature in more movies.
I definitely recommend seeing this one.
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