Certificate 15, 113 minutes
Director: Rodrigo Cortés
Stars: Sigourney Weaver, Robert De Niro and Cillian Murphy
In Red Lights, psychology professor Doctor Margaret Matheson (Sigourney Weaver, Chappie, The Cold Light of Day) and physicist Doctor Tom Buckley (Cillian Murphy, In Time) investigate and disprove fake paranormal phenomena. Buckley tends to do the side of the investigations that depends on equipment and looking for unexplained forces, whilst Matheson deals with the people and the human factor. Matheson also teaches at the university where, again assisted by Buckley, they show the various tricks "psychics" use to convince audiences that they are genuine. Some of these tricks are quite simple, whilst in other cases they require a team of people and some fairly sophisticated electronic hardware. Given the sort of money paid by some to see psychic shows and receive psychic healing, there is often more than enough for such a tam to easily pay for itself.
Credit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Red_Lights_FilmPoster.jpegMatheson's department receives substantially less funding than that of Dr Paul Shackleton (Toby Jones, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, Your Highness), the Scientific Paranormal Research Center. Shackleton is convinced that genuine psychic abilities exist; Matheson shows where his methods consistently fail. Even though he attempts to study psychic powers scientifically, he tends to fall prey to the tricks they use; something he seems at least somewhat aware of as Shackleton feels that Matheson could provide a benefit to his investigations. A student, Sally Owen (Elizabeth Olsen, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Captain America: Civil War, Godzilla), also provides assistance and Buckley becomes involved with her.
The famous psychic Simon Silver (Robert De Niro), has just come out of retirement. Buckley wants to investigate Silver, as both he and Matheson feel that there are no real challenges to investigate, but Matheson is reluctant, saying that Silver is dangerous. A previous vocal opponent of Silver had died during his last performance, which resulted in him retiring. Silver puts on a series of performances in their city, and Buckley is determined to carry out an investigation of him.
Throughout the film various strange events occur; unexplained phenomena that seem to be connected with Silver. It is unclear whether Silver is a genuine psychic, or a fraud like the rest of those investigated. Buckley is convinced that Silver is a fraud despite any evidence to the contrary, such as all the unexplained events that happen. Buckley seeks to expose Silver as such, and in fact is almost desperate to do so.
The Red Lights of the film's title are a reference to things that shouldn't be there, the tricks used by the fake psychics to convince their audiences that they are genuine, rather than anything to do with psychic phenomena.
De Niro gives a somewhat ominous performance as the psychic Simon Silver. Despite his apparent friendliness, Silver seems a threatening character on occasion, especially towards those who are sceptical of him. The film constantly keeps you guessing as to whether Silver is truly psychic, or simply an exceptionally gifted conman, especially as there is an interesting twist in the film's plot. Red Lights is an enjoyable watch, although not spectacular.
Certificate 15, 113 minutes