Red Lights

"Excellent"

Red Lights Review


Red Lights consists of a lot of driving, but unlike those trips you took with your folks and their array of Air Supply and Anne Murray cassettes, it's never boring. This movie is a riveting look at manhood and marriage. It's also legitimately frightening.

A Parisian couple in their 40s set off on a lengthy trip to pick up their kids from camp in Southern France. Hélène (Carole Bouquet) is a successful attorney who is a beloved, crucial part of her firm. Antoine (Jeane Pierre Darroussin) works for an insurance company, and it's very apparent that this trip has a very different meaning for him. In the movie's early moments, you see that he's dissatisfied with his role in the relationship. He's waiting on her to arrive; she's the one with the demands. He leaves work without any notice.

So, the tension is already in place before Antoine takes the wheel. And as he drives more aggressively and she voices her concern, we see Antoine's attempt, misguided as it is, to establish his dominance. The constant stopping at taverns and drinking like Zelda Fitzgerald in her prime is another step in Antoine's asinine program.

Hélène, eventually, gets fed up and leaves Antoine to pick up the kids by train. Antoine pursues, and eventually gives up, deciding to finish what he started: Visiting another bar and striking up a conversation with a young man in the hopes of some male bonding. He winds up picking up the worst hitchhiker short of Carrot Top (Vincent Deniard, looking exactly like Ben Affleck in Chasing Amy), which leads to a horrible accident and a frantic search for the suddenly missing Hélène.

Red Lights is so impressive because it's able to condense years of machismo struggle into about an hour and 45 minutes. Director/writer Cédric Kahn shows how ridiculous the concept of being a man is, or rather shows the right definition of it. Antoine believes the young hitchhiker is the personification of that principle, but Antoine's search for Hélène is much more accurate, though he's too frazzled to realize it, as the price for this perk turns out to be much too high.

Kahn does more than just present his answer on an age-old question; he convincingly builds unease better than most big-budget fright fests. He captures the mounting tension of a long car trip gone bad: the endless stretches of highway, the dying need to get to the destination, the endless monotony. By keeping the action inside four doors, Kahn highlights how a symbol of freedom can quickly become a prison on wheels, speeding us to a place you dread. With that knowledge, he keeps driving you down those dark roads, and you become increasingly aware that something will go wrong.

Usually the sign of a director without a clue, Kahn mixes in different themes and styles in Red Lights. However, the maneuver pays off: You get more than a few cheap scares or a rambling parable on domestic contentedness, but a movie with intellectual and psychological oomph. Right in time for Halloween, too.

Aka Feux Rouges.

Nope, she's not under the car.



Red Lights

Facts and Figures

Run time: 113 mins

In Theaters: Friday 2nd March 2012

Box Office USA: $49.3k

Distributed by: Millenium Entertainment

Production compaines: Nostromo Pictures, Cindy Cowan Entertainment, Antena 3 Films, Televisió de Catalunya, Instituto de la Cinematografía y de las Artes Audiovisuales (ICAA), La Sexta, Canal+ Espana

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 29%
Fresh: 25 Rotten: 61

IMDB: 6.2 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer:

Starring: as Margaret Matheson, as Simon Silver, as Tom Buckley, as Sally Owen, as Paul Shackleton, as Monica Handsen, as Dana, as Ben, as Benedict Cohen, Gina Bramhill as Judi Cale, as David Matheson, as Palladino, Garrick Hagon as Howard McColm, Jesse Bostick as TV Boy, Jeany Spark as Traci Northrop

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