Oof, it’s been a while since I’ve seen a film this bad. I mean Red Lights had more flaws than you could shake a stick at. You know you’re in trouble from the very beginning when Tom (Cillian Murphy) wakes Dr. Matheson (Sigourney Weaver) just to tell her to get some sleep. Even if you can rationalize that moment, there are more soon after that reinforce the fact that you’re going to ask for these two hours of your life back later on. Why would such established actors (Weaver and DeNiro) tie themselves to such a turd?
Unfortunately, with the exception of the first Twilight book, I have this annoying habit where I have to finish whatever it is I start, so I actually sat through the entirety of this movie, which was nothing more than an insult to true skeptics everywhere from beginning to end. I should warn you that there are spoilers in this review, but it doesn’t really matter, because you should probably avoid seeing this film.
At one point near the beginning of the film, Simon Silver (DeNiro) steps off of a plane, takes his sunglasses off to show the audience that he’s blind, then puts them back on again. That’s it. That’s the only purpose in removing the glasses. There’s no one else around, and what else would he be doing - looking around? As a supposed (but you’re not supposed to know that yet) blind man? Ugh.
Murphy, an actor whose work I often enjoy, goes off the rails with the acting here. In one scene, he’s watching Matheson debate skepticism on television, and he’s chewing the scenery so bad, he was probably picking set splinters out of his teeth for weeks. Then, later on, with unexplained intensity, he insists on investigating that sinister Silver. :Shakes fist: What’s with all the hostility, bro?
And Matheson, who is assumed to know her stuff, not only is shaken to core by Silver, something I still don’t understand, but also keeps her son on life support, despite her beliefs that there is nothing waiting for him on the other side. That doesn’t sound like a true skeptic to me.
I think I realized about halfway through the first act that Silver wasn’t really blind, if it even took me that long, and the evidence was everywhere. For one thing, a blind man should have been clenching his ears and begging for relief while standing in a room of raised frequencies - hello, trumped-up sense of hearing! And then when his “secret” is finally revealed at the end, it’s more of a throwaway line after a halfhearted attempt at setting up a climax. It seemed like even the filmmakers couldn’t wait to wrap it up and go home.
As far as plots go, this one was a bunch of different elements being thrown together in a blender with no rhyme, reason, or explanation, and without a happy accident. Dr. Matheson dies out of nowhere, and from what we’re never really sure, though, it must have something to do with that sinister Silver, right? :Shakes fist: Tom’s apartment gets ransacked behind Sally (Elizabeth Olsen), yet she never hears a thing.
There are such random occurrences as dead birds being hurled at glass windows with amazing precision and enough explosions to make Michael Bay jealous that no one ever questions. And the fight scene is an over-the-top joke from which no one mortal would simply get up and walk away. To top it all off, you get a tie-it-all-up answer in an ending that essentially craps on the entirety of the film by making one of the main characters into the very thing that the two of them were trying to disprove the entire time. Good job.