Psychic 'Lights' should have known better
By Christy Lemire, Associated Press“Red Lights” culminates with a twist ending that doesn't just change everything that came previously, it actually negates the entirety of the film. Rather than leaving you in an awe-struck state of “A-ha!” it's more likely to make you wonder in annoyance, “Really?”
August 6, 2012, 12:27 am TWN
There are actually two big character revelations, one of which isn't terribly hard to guess much earlier; the other, however, just rips gaping holes in the narrative. The story was pretty flimsy anyway, and never nearly as serious or important as writer-director Rodrigo Cortes seems to take it.
Cortes is the Spanish filmmaker who trapped Ryan Reynolds in a coffin for an hour and a half in the 2010 thriller “Buried,” which enjoyed a surprising amount of critical acclaim. As tight and minimalist as that film was, “Red Lights” is a melodramatic, gimmicky mess, full of noisy scares and needless cuts. Cortes also edited “Red Lights” and he did so in manic, maddening fashion. A scene in which two characters are getting to know each other and flirting a bit over milkshakes at a diner features camerawork that flits about anxiously, when it theoretically should have been a moment of intimacy.
But we're getting ahead of ourselves. There's so much to pick apart here, it's hard to know where to begin.
Sigourney Weaver and Cillian Murphy star as professors at an unnamed university in an unnamed town. Wherever they are, the lighting is incredibly unflattering all the time, casting ordinarily attractive actors in a sickly, greenish pallor. Weaver's Margaret Matheson and Murphy's Tom Buckley specialize in debunking claims of paranormal activity. Skeptics to the core, they sneak up on supposed psychics in front of packed, enraptured audiences and expose them as frauds.