Starring: Cillian Murphy, Sigourney Weaver, Robert De Niro
You may like this if you liked: The Sixth Sense (M. Night Shyamalan, 1999), The Devil’s Advocate (Taylor Hackford, 1997), The Others (Alejandro Amenabar, 2001)
Psychologist Margaret Matheson (Weaver) and her younger assistant Tom Buckley (Murphy) specialise in investigating paranormal phenomena and disproving them. One day the mysterious psychic and telekinetic Simon Silver (De Niro) appears after an absence of several decades, despite the warnings of Matheson, Buckley becomes obsessed with trying to prove Silver to be a fraud which starts to threaten his own sanity.
Buried (Rodrigo Cortes, 2010) was in my opinion, a very well crafted and written film, so I was very interested in Cortes next offering, especially as he had been entrusted with a bigger budget. Sadly Red Lights in my opinion is not a good film, but it is hard to explain exactly why without giving too much away, but I will give it a go.
Firstly, it does actually start off quite well, the premise is certainly a little silly, but this is ok as the film is watchable and quite intriguing. Murphy and Weaver are solid actors and certainly give the film weight with their natural presence. Cortes himself shows to be a fine director, there are some very well made scenes here that are genuinely creepy and the first hour of the film is very watchable and intriguing.
I was genuinely intrigued as to how everything will pan out, however it appears to be the case that maybe Cortes asked himself the same question and never actually answered it. The final third of Red Lights is an absolute mess that basically descends into farce and completely destroys all the good work and intrigue created by the preceding two thirds. The motivations behind Buckley’s actions become extremely questionable, and there is a final twist that just completely destroys and undermines everything that has happened previously. A lot has been said about the ending, and I can see why. Cortes solely wrote, directed and edited this film, but maybe next time he should have someone with him to rein him in, as it almost appears like he has lost control of his own movie, which is a shame.
In summary, Red Lights offers a very watchable and intriguing first two thirds, that is well made and well acted, but is sorely let down by a shambolic final third that will infuriate most people.