Red Lights

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Red Lights
A dollop of ‘The X Files’, a dash of ‘The Sixth Sense’ and a whole lot of blah come together in Rodrigo Cortés’s supernatural suspense thriller. Sigourney Weaver and Cillian Murphy play a pair of academic debunkers of paranormal hokum with a sublimated mother-son thing going on (perish the thought that an older woman and younger man might be romantically involved!). Their routine is upended by the public comeback of a sinister Uri Geller-style medium (Robert De Niro): cue electrical fires, creepy homeless people and lots of dead birds. 
‘Red Lights’ musters a few moments of unease but never really kicks into gear: it’s as lame as a thrill ride and inane as a wannabe critique of rational enquiry. Cortés (‘Buried’) writes, directs, produces and edits without showing much flair for any of them. His dreadful script in particular leaves the weirdly good cast stranded: Murphy is shouty, De Niro somnolent, Weaver valiant; Toby Jones, Joely Richardson and Elizabeth Olsen are similarly wasted. The clue’s in the title: don’t go. 

By: Ben Walters


Release details

Cast and crew

Director: Rodrigo Cortés
Screenwriter: Rodrigo Cortés
Cast: Robert De Niro
Cillian Murphy
Sigourney Weaver

Average User Rating

2.6 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:0
  • 4 star:3
  • 3 star:4
  • 2 star:2
  • 1 star:0
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"Analogical camera"? "Analogical watch"? The word they were looking for is "Analogue". Bad script, worse directing. Avoid.

I consider myself to be reasonably discerning and I really loved this film. It did leave a few questions unanswered but that didn't bother me. I felt that the core of it was that Tom (Cillian) loved Margaret (Weaver) and it was a love story combined with one about self acceptance. I didn't guess the ending at all although I worked out sixth sense in the first ten minutes and after that was a bit bored, even though SS was a much polished film. RL had amazing atmosphere and I was absorbed throughout. I've seen it twice and saw more the second time. Took a critical friend and she loved it too. Some daft moments without doubt (Cillian would have been dead long before he hit the bog) but forgiveable

Wildkatwriter, now that you've finished your pretentious attempt at a critic style review, pretty much everything you said is cancelled out by the shocking fact you couldn't work out Murphy's character was beaten up by a heavy working for De Niro. That was shown quite clearly by the heavy standing right next to De Niro's agent who stopped him from beating him again when Murphy returned to the auditorium, and a blood soaked Murphy asking De Niro "Did you really have to go this far?" It couldn't have been made any clearer than if a big caption appeared on screen saying "Silver sent this guy to beat up Buckley for trying to expose him". As to the film itself, it's entertaining enough and well acted. It's not in the same league as The Sixth Sense but it's better than all these hideously tedious found footage/faux documentary horrors. And De Niro can still deliver a monologue with great intensity.

Of course you are, and my opinion is this film is too daft to bother excusing hilariously silly head/bog scenes! Apologies re-the confusion though, Wildkats essay was a little too "Gizza job, I can do that" for my tastes to read in full! One star to hopefully restore sanity.

Entertaining. But a film of two halfs. The first half is realistic and things happen and people do things and say things and it all seems to make sense. Then suddenly, it changes and it's all weird imagery and odd cuts and characters do weird things and by the end you're so busy trying to work out what's going on that the demouement flies past quick as a flash, before you've realised it even was the denouement. Great cast though. Cillian Murphy is so watchable - he even looks a bit like Elizabeth Olsen! de Niro is ott but he's so good at it.

Enjoyable hokum. Except the "denouement" is very unsatisfactory. You know how "The Sixth Sense" you realise the "secret" of the film just before it is fed to you and how it all makes sense? Well, I think that the writer had seen that film, tried to pull of the same trick - and failed dismally! It simply does NOT convince at all.

Psychic sceptics will enjoy this as much as the belivers might! I read the Time Out Review and felt that it was not worth the trouble, but unexpectitly ended up going to see it. To be honest I thought it was much better than the Time Out review which was a pleasant surprise. Go see if you have an interest in the subject matter one way or the other, we did and enjoyed it. On a side note.. If you did not get the reason of the beating in the toilets then you were not paying attention. And basins can smash easily if hit the right way believe me. I would give it 3 / 5 but because of the ( IMO ) unfair Time slating I 'm giving it 4 /5 because it was better than expected.

Im with Marsellus, but had a snigger at weavers distain of Silver aa it reminded me of the Zeta Jones/Stacy Jacks scenario in ROCK OF AGES.....half expected to see her return as a groupie near the end, having faked her own death! 5/10

'wildkatwriter' I thought your review was pretty much spot on and really in-line with my view - but I'm harsher and will score 2 stars. I was interested right up until Sigourney Weaver left the film at the half-way mark. From then the film pretty much took a nose dive. Also, did De Niro need to act so over-the-top?! I'll usually watch anything he does but his performance here needed reigning in a lot. Murphy was dependable, as always. He did what he could with the material but you can't polish a turd!

There's a lovely, understated scene at the start of this film where psychic debunker Sigourney Weaver, having witnessed a terrifying and convincing burst of phenomena in a spooky old house, talks round the little girl who orchestrated it all because she wants her daddy to move. There's also a believable, affectionate, bickering relationship between Weaver and her sidekick and pupil Cillian Murphy, the film's lead. Make the most of these moments; the rest of the film is never knowingly understated. It's not that RED LIGHTS is bad, it's bloody infuriating. The Big Final Twist would be a brilliant a completely different film. Here, it just leaves you scratching your head and mumbling, "WTF?" and contradicts quite a few things that have gone before. Writer-director-producer-editor Cortes hasn't come up with one interesting story as his psychic-busters (C' that a real job?) try and expose veteran "psychic" Robert de Niro as a fake; there are all sorts of interesting ideas poking out from the surrounding hokum, but they just don't fit together in the one movie. You're left with lots of unanswered questions, and no in a good way (What's with all the dead birds? Why does one character suddenly beat another character to a pulp in a bathroom for no apparent reason? How come Murphy suddenly acquires a sidekick of his own - Craig Roberts from Submarine - at whom he can snap orders? Above all, why does NO-ONE in this unnamed American city EVER HAVE ANY FREAKING LIGHTBULBS? Do they like sitting in the dark listening to all the spooky noises?) The real mystery is how Cortes managed to put together such an awesomely good cast (an Avengers Assemble of film acting talent, if you will) and then waste their talents so spectacularly. Weaver departs with her dignity intact, just about, but stunning indie actress Elizabeth Olsen is lumbered with the thankless girlfriend role, which means being ignored by traumatised boyfirend Murphy who's got, y'know, ISSUES, and quavering "What's going on?" Mind, by the time she quavered that, I really could relate. If you want an actor with wide, haunted, soulful eyes, Cillian Murphy's your man, and he puts his peepers to good use here, while carrying much of the film. But even Murphy, who's given beautifully judged performances in evertyhing from Breakfast on Pluto to Batman Begins, eventually throws in the towel and starts being as melodramatically OTT as de Nrio. I wouldn't say don't go to this: go, and see if you can make more sense of it than I did. And see if you can sit through it all without laughing. But if you want a good scary film about things that go bump in the night, watch Night of the Demon. And if you want to see Murphy play an intense, troubled physicist, just watch Danny Boyle's brilliant (in every sense) Sunshine. The murky film that is Red Lights can't hold a candle to it.