293. Red Lights (Spain/US 2012)

Director: Rodrigo Cortes

Starring: Cillian Murphy, Sigourney Weaver, Robert De Niro, Joely Richardson, Elizabeth Olsen, Toby Jones

Music: Victor Reyes

Cinematography: Xavi Giminez

Screenplay: Rodrigo Cortes (and editing)

Fact: Robert de Niro's waiting

Lie: Talking Welsh

Time: 113 minutes

 In one line: a blind psychic returns after 30 years.....


Physicists Margaret Matheson (Weaver) and Tom Buckley (Murphy) investigate and debunk psychic phenomena. Simon Silver (De Niro), a shamen-like celebrity psychic. re-appears after thirty years in the wilderness. Although Matheson appears to be believe only in the physical concerns of the world, there is something about Silver that she finds deeply troubling. Buckley insists that Silver is investigated and shown to be a fraud, but Matheson wants him to hold back. Matheson's adult son has been in a coma for many years. Matheson has refused to switch off his life support because there is no proof of an after-life. Silver's powers seem to have been responsible for the death of an investigative journalist who was baiting him on a live talk show. Matheson is bested in a live discussion with Silver's sinister agent (Richardson) and is taking medication for a heart complaint. The strain of a possible confrontation with Silver seems to be making her ill, so Buckley decides to take matters into his own hands.....


I got soaked to the skin walking to the cinema* yesterday (June 15th 2012), but Red Lights proved to be a more than decent Friday afternoon film and almost worth my efforts.

I didn'.t expect anything too much from the film - it's had a few decent reviews and a few reasonable ones. Whichever idiot from The Guardian reviewed it, it certainly isn't a 'humorous thriller' (which almost put me off); it's as sombre a genre film as you'll get. I think The Guardian reviewer did what's known as a 'Vinny Jones's Ireland v England at Lansdowne Road'** review for this film.

The first half of the film is great - atmospheric, occasionally scary and brilliantly shot and edited. Sigourney Weaver dominates the screen and is easily the best thing about the film. (Although you won't get this from the trailer.) And...cor!!! 'Sig' is still dead sexy, even though she's about seventy or something, but smart IS sexy; and I'm no spring chicken myself, but I could easily be Sigourney's toyboy. (My e mail address is at the bottom of the page, Miss Weaver.)

Sigourney Weaver: grey cardie....mmmmm. (It also looks like I've drawn a huge dick on Cillian's head, but that was on the whiteboard already. Nice bit of framing from the clearly jealous Spanish director.)


It's always good to see De Niro (God knows how long I've been going to see him in films), and after a charismatic performance in the early part of the film, he lapses into 'I'm only doing this because I've still got huge alimony cheques to pay out and I need some ale money' mode.

De Niro plays a blind psychic who may or may not possess great powers and the ability to do great harm. It's still a fantastic (if unoriginal) premise, but the film doesn't quite make total sense and I spotted the ending a mile away.

Bob De Niro: passes the time by passport photo booth posing before a day on the sauce in Cooper's, Liverpool city centre

It's a pity that they used the stage levitating sequence in the adverts for the film - it's one one of the spookiest things I've ever seen on the big screen - seeing De Niro in his blind-man's glasses, floating, arms outstretched and Christ-like, and smiling benignly as only he can do.

The film has the feel of The Prestige (which is no bad thing) and I kept getting reminders of that great old Roger Corman/Ray Milland film The Man With X-Ray Eyes. Oh, and another little bonus:, the goddess-like Joely Richardson is in it (as De Niro's sinister agent).

Not a Premier League film, but a decent afternoon diversion.  It's one one of those films that are enjoyable on the cinema in the first week that they come out - when there's a buzz of expectation and a watered-down version of the shock of the new, but one you wouldn't really bother to watch again on a small screen.



*Edge Lane - surprisingly good - nobody whatsoever in the neighbourhood or the cinema foyer, but the cinema was 3/4 full for an afternoon screening.
**Went on the piss instead of doing the review - thought that it was 0-0 and reported that nothing much had happened. Forgot to mention the full scale riot that led to the match being abandoned. Got sacked. Felt guilty and then bit Gary Lineker's nose. Again, no bad thing. Even though it was Vinny Jones. Who's a twot. Apart from that time he kicked the ball out of touch at Goodison when he realised that John Ebbrell might have been seriously hurt. AND eve though Kevin Ratcliff had deliberately had him (Jones) sent off by feigning her for a non-contact head-butt. So not such a twat, then.


Click on poster for Red Lights trailer