Red Lights REVIEW
If he was really psychic, he would have turned down this film.
Release Date: 15 June 2012
15 | 113 minutes
Distributor: Momentum Pictures
Director: Rodrigo Cortés
Cast: Cillian Murphy, Sigourney Weaver, Robert De Niro, Elizabeth Olsen, Toby Jones
Just because we’re reviewing Red Lights in SFX, don’t take that as a spoiler about its central question – namely, does Robert De Niro’s charismatic guru possess supernatural powers?
In the sceptics’ camp are Sigourney Weaver and Cillian Murphy, paranormal researchers clued in to all the ways you can hitch up a séance table or receive handy messages for the credulous. Psychic Simon Silver (De Niro) has stage magnetism and screaming groupies, but he can’t be the real deal… Can he?
It’s old territory. Red Lights’ selling point is its auspicious cast, with a promising frisson between Weaver and Murphy as surrogate mother and son. After her Na’Vi rejuve in Avatar, Weaver bears the weight of years here quite movingly, though she still has her sardonic steel, especially when crossing swords with research rival Toby Jones.
Sadly, nothing else lives up to her performance. The film’s overwrought tone, full of booming portents and crashy crescendos, tries to cover the sins of a deeply pedestrian script. Filler comes in the form of dull expositionary lecture scenes and a student love interest for Murphy (Elizabeth Olsen), who widens her eyes decoratively as he goes histrionic. De Niro does his declamatory schtick – there’s an amusing barb about his Hamlet delivery from a dissatisfied punter – but you never remotely believe that he has America eating from his hand. The denouement is a dreadful groaner that’s offensively glib, whatever your beliefs.
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