Red Lights

"Good"

Red Lights Review


Spanish filmmaker Cortes clearly thinks of himself as a Christopher Nolan-style filmmaker, as this thriller has heavy echoes of Inception and especially The Prestige. But the film drifts into self-parody just when it needs to take an intelligent twist.

Tom (Murphy) is a physicist who works with psychologist Margaret (Weaver) to expose fake psychics. They don't believe that the supernatural exists, much to the annoyance of psychic studies proferssor Paul (Jones). Assisted by students Sally and Ben (Olsen and Roberts), Tom and Margaret debunk noted mentalist Palladino (Sbaraglia) by looking for "red lights", anything that seems suspicious. But when Margaret's old nemesis Simon (De Niro) makes a comeback, she backs down from going after the famed blind showman. And Tom's secret investigation takes some bizarre turns.

Cortes directs with a sure hand, using skilful camerawork and astute editing as well as a heavy-handed sound mix that over-eggs every creep-out with deafening noise. But the anonymous American city setting (it was shot in Barcelona) echoes Nolan's similarly disarming approach, as do the hallways, warehouses and theatres where everything happens. On top of this there's the gimmick of a Ghostbusters cast member, plus a surreal sequence that's like an outtake from Twin Peaks.

The problem is that none of this gels into anything meaningful because Cortes refuses to ground anything in the real world. The over-serious drama is so heightened that we can't believe it, which undermines effective sequences like a genuinely unsettling car-chase. And when events spiral into violence, it simply doesn't ring true, as if scenes were inserted in an attempt to satisfy blood-thirsty audiences who don't care about narrative nuance. So the story isn't nearly as mind-bending as Cortes wants it to be.

Even so, it's thoroughly watchable, thanks to strong actors who create intriguing characters even when they're practically sleepwalking. Weaver gives Margaret a terrific dose of cynicism that's much more interesting than Tom's hot-headed rage. And De Niro underplays his blind man of mystery so that he almost seems to be a ghost. But this means that when he does come out of his shell, it's more than faintly ridiculous. Which kind of describes the overwrought final act as well.



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: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 29%
Fresh: 25 Rotten: 61

IMDB: 6.2 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Rodrigo Cortes

Producer: Rodrigo Cortes, Adrian Guerra

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

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Imperium Movie Review

Imperium Movie Review

First-time filmmaker Daniel Ragussis takes an unusual approach to this thriller. Since it's based on...

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

Like a 10-years-later follow-up to 28 Days Later, this small British thriller takes a refreshingly...

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

Director Antoine Fuqua brings his usual fascination with violence to this remake of the iconic...

Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

As it's been 12 years since the last Bridget Jones movie, expectations aren't too high...

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

A-list director Ron Howard worked with the surviving Beatles to assemble this engaging documentary, which...

Blair Witch Movie Review

Blair Witch Movie Review

It's been 17 years since The Blair Witch Project shook up the cinema and created...

Anthropoid Movie Review

Anthropoid Movie Review

Outside the Czech Republic, few people know about Operation Anthropoid, a spy mission in 1943...

Advertisement
Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

From Laika (The Boxtrolls), this is one of the most beautiful, sophisticated animated films in...

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

An offbeat comedy-drama with a timely kick, this charming family road trip takes on some...

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Sicario screenwriter Taylor Sheridan delivers another fiercely intelligent, engaging story that maintains high suspense while...

The 9th Life of Louis Drax Movie Review

The 9th Life of Louis Drax Movie Review

With heavy overtones of Hitchcockian mystery and intrigue, this stylish thriller is the enjoyably melodramatic...

Kickboxer: Vengeance Movie Review

Kickboxer: Vengeance Movie Review

The 1989 Muay Thai action movie Kickboxer starred a young Jean-Claude Van Damme, who pops...

Julieta Movie Review

Julieta Movie Review

Iconic Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar is back with another powerfully complex female-centred drama, along the...

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

An astute satire of the pop music business, this raucous mock-documentary is consistently hilarious from...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.