Red Lights (2012)
Director: Rodrigo Cortés
Screenwriter: Rodrigo Cortés
Starring: Robert De Niro, Cillian Murphy, Sigourney Weaver, Elizabeth Olsen, Toby Jones, Joely Richardson, Craig Roberts, Leonardo Sbaraglia
Rodrigo Cortés – the man behind the Buried (2010) – brings his second English title to the screen with Red Lights (2012) starring Cillian Murphy, Sigourney Weaver (Alien), and Robert De Niro. The narrative follows a pair of psychologists (Murphy and Weaver), who solve issues of the supernatural in a professional manner on behalf of a prestigious US University. Upon the resurfacing of a renowned psychic (DeNiro), the pair take steps to investigate him.
As you’ve likely worked out by now, the concept was simple and creative enough. But, in truth, it was poorly delivered by a narrative which took so many short cuts that it was almost entirely impossible to take the conclusion of the piece seriously enough to render it ‘good taste’. Usually, when dealing with issues of the supernatural, psychics, magic etc., the writer of the piece has to establish a set of guidelines of what is and is not possible within the alternate universe that they present. The story of Red Lights did very little to do this. In fact, from time to time the story took the concept to such extraordinary lengths that it seemed to be almost made up as they went along. How such a picture managed to acquire such an established cast through a script as poor is truly beyond me; which brings me to the acting.
Robert De Niro (Goodfellas; The Irishman) isn’t at all convincing in his role, and whilst Cillian Murphy and Sigourney Weaver performed sufficiently, the rest of the supporting cast was not at all good enough for any major cinematic release. In truth, they weren’t helped by what was poor direction and cinematography, and the film did nothing to shine any of them in a positive light.
In conclusion, from top to bottom, in every aspect of the filmmaking, this was a poor film. This is the proof that an ensemble cast doesn’t always equal a good movie.