- Special Effects
You’re bound to find something interesting in Red Lights. Whether you’re trying to solve the mystery or wondering about the existence of paranormal entities, this film is sure to entertain. Despite an incomplete romantic relationship and several loose ends, Red Lights succeeds in keeping you on the edge of your seat.
Red Lights tells the story of Dr. Margaret Matheson (Weaver) and her TA Dr. Tom Buckley (Murphy) through their investigations of paranormal activity. Funded by the university at which they teach, the duo effectively figures out how self-proclaimed “psychics” pull their tricks and expose them to the public.
When formerly retired psychic Simon Silver (De Niro) reemerges in the public eye, Dr. Buckley wants to interrogate him, but Dr. Matheson warns him against doing so as she previously tried in the past. Buckley must then confront Silver on his own, seeking to find the truth as he doubts the existence of extra sensory perception.
Red Lights is most mentionable for its ability to maintain the elements of a thriller film throughout its entirety .Once Silver becomes the focus, the story builds suspense as small pieces come full circle.
It first appeared that Dr. Matheson and Buckley ‘s extensive research of the paranormal activities was a common procedure — practice needed to investigate someone as convincing as Silver. However, once he decides to put on a series of shows at a nearby theatre the unthinkable occurs.
Cinematographer Xavi Gimenez, who was also the director of photography for The Machinist, utilized quick jump shots and 360 degree angles, creating an effect that placed the audience right in the action. In one scene where the university conducts research involving Silver, Gimenez, quite cleverly shoots the scene like an old-school science experiment film.
The original music by Victor Reyes, who’s responsible for the score of Apartment 143 (Cortes’s last screenplay about parapsychologists), also aided in keeping the pace. Often times, Reyes’s compositions emphasized several key moments within the plot. In general, the film has several terrifying moments but mostly it’s the ever deepening story line that will keep audiences actively involved in the mystery.
Without giving away too much, I have to say the ending was completely unexpected and left me in awe as I picked up my jaw off the floor. This is a film that will keep you guessing until the end, wondering if Silver really does have powers. The ending throws a complete curveball, one that seals the deal to give a satisfying ending.
Cillian Murphy is an actor who’s both cursed and blessed by his hypnotizing looks. With an angular chin, piercing blue eyes, and fair skin, directors often peg Murphy as a creepy, villainous character, but in Red Lights we get to see another side of him.
Although Cortes cast him in a serious role, Murphy plays the hero that you’ll want to root for. Plus, it’s nice to see him with some real human emotions. Murphy held his own as he starred opposite seasoned acting vets Weaver and De Niro, creating a mad-scientist-esque doc who generally stole the show.
While watching Red Lights, you’ll ask yourself several questions regarding the plot, unfortunately some are left unanswered. Although the ending does satisfy a couple aspects, several elements are left in the cold and unresolved, which leaves the audience playing the, “But what about the….” game for a few too many things.
Sally (Elizabeth Olsen), a student of Dr. Matheson’s, is interested in Matheson and Buckley’s research and becomes an aid to their team. The story hints at sparks between Sally and Buckley but nothing ever transpires. Suddenly, the two are in a relationship; in several scenes she’s kisses his forehead or wakes up in his bed with no explanation as to how their relationship evolved.
A scene showing them kiss for the first time, something to establish that a connection had transpired, would’ve solved the problem but it’s awkwardly missing. It was weird that this one element was over looked in a plot line that aimed for consistency.
Overall: 3 out of 5 Stars
Red Lights is one of the more successful thriller films I’ve seen in a while as the story and its characters will have you guessing the entire time. The film struggled to answer all of the questions it posed, which left the story feeling unfinished. Red Lights will also test your belief in the paranormal, leaving believers and unbelievers with one killer ending.
Buy it, Rent it, or Skip it?
Go rent Red Lights; it’s an entertaining and unpredictable ride. If you’re still unconvinced, you should remember that the amazing Robert De Niro is approaching 70 so you should enjoy his new films while you still can. The film’s not for all audiences; since it’s more drama filled there’s a lot of dialogue and suspense. If you’re looking for an action packed ghost film, this isn’t it, but if you want a fresh look at psychic powers, Red Lights is for you.
‘Red Lights’ Trailer