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General Musings, Reviews

Red Lights Review


‘Red Lights’ is the new film from Rodrigo Cortes, the director of ‘Buried’, which follows Margaret Matheson (Sigourney Weaver) and Tom Buckley (Cillian Murphy), paranormal and psychic investigators who attempt to disprove or seek alternative explanations for paranormal activities. During financially tough times and with no significant challenge in their recent work Tom decides to challenge the authenticity of a popular but mysterious psychic Simon Silver (Robert De Niro) who has recently emerged from retirement to take the stage once again. However mysterious and ominous events begin to plague the investigation into Silver affecting both the mind and bodies of those attempting to disprove his work. Read on to see if this film is a for real or is a fraud…

The realm of psychics is a realm not fully explored by film, and when they do the characters they use tend to be crazy psychics who use their power for bad things or we have some good psychics who help solve murders. Within these films we tend to follow those who have the psychic ability but with ‘Red Lights’ we are on the outside looking in. The characters we follow in the film give us a fresh angle and view into the world of psychics and instead of watching some creepy visions of dead girls we are getting caught up in trying to figure out if the psychics in the film are fake, this in turn gives us one of the most enjoyable aspects of the film. ‘Red Lights’ lets you get involved with Margaret and Tom’s journey in disproving paranormal activities and its a fun  ride to take part in, throughout the film you find yourself trying to find the clues and answers to puzzles which may or may not prove the authenticity of the character of Simon Silver. As a viewer I was engrossed in trying to figure it all out and nearly every second of it is thoroughly engrossing in a way that most other films are not, ‘Red Lights’ acts as a puzzle that you have to work out while it all unfolds before you. Of course other films do this, primarily in the horror genre, but their story arcs, events and red herrings tend to be shallow where as with this film it has much more depth.

Cillian Murphy as Tom Buckley 
The journey the film takes you on is possibly the most enjoyable aspect of the film but this is completely assisted by a number of other factors in the film, the smart screenplay and story and the very good acting of the main cast. As mentioned ‘Red Lights’ is a fresh take on a rarely touched genre but its the smart story and script that make it interesting, Cortes penned the script as well as directed the film and it just goes to show how talented this young man is. The one negative I got from this side of the film was that there are a few occasions of flowery dialogue between our primary characters that, despite explaining events, could have been a bit more straight forward saving time and breathe. It is good to make the audience think but not for them to think too much. Script aside the other major element that gets you engrossed in the film is the performance of Cillian Murphy. The passion and obsession of Murphy’s character spills over into the audience as you rush with him full speed ahead to get to the bottom of everything, though his character does go from quietly reserved to obsessed incredibly quickly, Murphy brings enough to the role to keep you believing with him. In addition to this, with the acting in mind, the performance of De Niro is something that we have not seen in a long time. It was like he was rejuvenated given a role he could get his teeth into, something he had not done before and I sincerely hope he could be recapturing the form that made him so brilliant in the past. 
De Niro thought he was at a casting call for Men in Black 4
However there are a couple of drawbacks to the film which emanate from the script to an extent and the editing and that was the quick progressions of characters and events in small periods of time. There is a lot to be explained in the film for those not privy to the world of psychics and sometimes to keep the pace of the film going, character and story progression is sometimes sacrificed. It must be stressed however this does not occur all the time, and when it does it barely detracts from the overall viewing experience. Elizabeth Olsen’s character of Sally Owen has little relevance to most of the film and is just a tool to keep the story going, Olsen is good in the role and goes from strength to strength with each performance but her character here is basically a throwaway role whose overall relevance is minimal. 
When the credits rolled on ‘Red Lights’ a few things became very clear, Rodrigo Cortes is a name to watch out for as he shows great flair in his direction and a smart screenplay. Cillian Murphy is one of the most underused and underrated actors in the film industry and that the film itself is one of the best films in the psychic genre.Though there are some rushed moments here and there with scenes, characters and events, the overall negative impact of these occasions is minimal. ‘Red Lights’ has a smart story with slick acting and engrossing interactive events keep you hooked not long after the start which will keep you entertained in a way few films will this year. The Snooty Usher approves!

About Snooty Usher Dan

Favourite Film: One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975) Worst Film: The Hills Have Eyes 2 (2007) Guilty Pleasure: Step Up 2: The Streets (The dancing is awesome ok.....)

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