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Red Lights [Blu-ray]
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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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Top Customer Reviews
As the film progresses a man named Simon Silver (Robert De Niro) a blind psychic...a Kreskin on steroids, comes out of a 30 year retirement to put on a show. Buckly wants to expose Silver, but Matheson does not. She had confronted Silver before and didn't come out at the winning end. Matheson believes he is a fraud, but at the same time knows he is clever enough to deceive her. She wants no part of it.
The story then centers around what turns out to be a weird confrontation between Buckly and Silver with an ending that I thought brought the movie down.
Good acting with character build up. A movie that goes at a good pace and holds your interest.
Parental Guide: F-bombs, no sex or nudity. If you like skeptic psychic investigators try "1408," "The Awakening," or "Apartment 143."
The story also looked quite interesting too, but sadly for me I found the film lacking, and whilst not awful it really never hits anywhere near as hard as it could have.
Plot wise Sigourney Weaver plays Margaret Matheson an academic who specialises in paranormal investigations, and being specific here one who tries to disprove their existence via scientific methods. She is joined by her assistant Tom Buckley (Cillian Murphy) and their attention soon turns to a previously popular in years past..comeback "psychic" Simon Silver (Robert De Niro)
Silver is increasing his public appearances and the two investigators are determined to uncover him as a fraud.
On paper this sounds quite interesting, and few could argue with the cast members (all solid and respected actors capable of delivering good performances) where things go wrong here..well on a few areas.
Most of the film is quite predictable bar the ending which I found to be quite weak and lacking impact (though I agree some will find it unexpected) Script wise it's a fairly pedestrian affair and you never really feel connected to any of the main characters, which is a huge problem for any film. Moreover I think the film lacks pace and isn't as cleverly executed as it could have been, one scene plays into the next without any surprises. When the ending does come I wondered if it had been worth the time spent watching it, a lot of build up and an ending which just didn't hit me at all. You might find a second or third viewing improves matters, but I had trouble sitting through it again.Read more ›
The direction throughout the film is brilliant and the acting is near-perfect - as to be expected from such great actors. The actual storyline of the movie is where there is unfortunately less consistency.
The first two thirds are very, very good and build tension excellently. Few films have such an excellent platform to build from for the third act. Unfortunately, though, the third act is very important in itself - and with this movie it disappointed greatly. In this review I'll refer to the point where I feel the movie suddenly tails away as 'the toilet bit' (not a spoiler for anybody who hasn't seen it and at the same time if you have seen it you'll know what I mean). From that point on the movie just gets worse and worse until eventually (and very unfortunately) the lowest point of the movie which is the ending. It was one of those endings where you think "Wait, is this thing finishing now? Really?" Which is a real shame - because it really was very good for well over an hour.
I would (albeit after some long thought) recommend this movie; the first two thirds are almost a masterclass in building up tension in a thriller. The ending is a huge let-down (for me at least, and I know that some others feel the same) but it's one of those cases where the ending could never have been such a let-down if it wasn't for the beginning and middle being so good and raising expectations so much in the first place.
I guess the best way to sum this movie up in one sentence is that it has the first two thirds of a very good movie and the ending of an average movie - I've seen many movies with much worse endings but few with endings so much worse than the rest of the film.
The plot follows a pair of underfunded college professors who specialise in parapsychology de-bunking, and the relationship between the two scientists, mentor Weaver and her protégé Murphy, is beautifully portrayed. It would spoil the film and your enjoyment to say too much about the plot... but things take a sinister turn when De Niro's character enters the scene as a returning stage psychic, one whose critics have a habit of dying in mysterious circumstances.
Red Lights is spooky, chilling and unsettling right from the start with the action taking place in an artfully created atmosphere of uncertainty. It beautifully captures the conflict between science and superstition with a tip of the hat to many other movies and TV shows (look out for an 'I Want To Understand' poster in the science lab!)
The emphasis of the film changes part-way, with Weaver playing a bigger role in the first half and then De Niro steps into the limelight during the second, when the sinister sensation of indeterminate threat ratchets upwards. There are a couple of 'boo!' scares but in the main the tension is all intellectual - it's all in the mind. (Or is it...?) The mystery and resolution are very reminiscent of A Certain Director; I can't reveal who, but you'll understand once you've watched Red Lights.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Unimpressed. I liked the theme that the movie was hinting towards in the beginning. Scientists evaluating and debunking pseudo-science and psychic phenomena. Read morePublished 2 days ago by Alexander Hedge
University lecturers Margaret Matheson (SIGOURNEY WEAVER) and Tom Buckley (CILLIAN MURPHY) travel America investigating paranormal incidents and expose them as hoaxes. Read morePublished 14 days ago by Napoleon
Hands down the best film I have seen In quite some time. Great plot, great performances by De Niro, Weaver and Murphy and a well directed film. Read morePublished 3 months ago by John P. Keenan
I thought this was a really good movie. The plot was pretty straightforward, but the acting raised this above your normal fare. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Ricoh