Dimmed Lights at the End of the Tunnel
Whilst a respected psychology lecturer Margaret Matheson (Sigourney Weaver) also specialises in paranormal activity, the debunking of it especially those who proclaim to have special powers. She is accompanied by the talented Tom Buckley (Cillian Murphy) who has big ambitions when it comes to his career. But then all of a sudden a face from the past returns in the form of Simon Silver (Robert De Niro), a blind mentalist who has come out of retirement and someone who vanished from the scene when a sceptic journalist suddenly died whilst investigating him. It leads to Buckley becoming obsessed with proving Silver as a fake.
If you have any form of scepticism over those who claim to have special abilities to read minds or contact the dead "Red Lights" will be for you or in fact the first two stages of "Red Lights" will be for you. It is genuinely fascinating as we follow Matheson and Buckley as they set about proving those who have psychic powers are frauds. And without going in to detail we see various cases which they investigate and then see how some of the supposed paranormal activity happens such as how a clairvoyant does the floating table malarkey. It will genuinely make you smile and it does a nice job of drawing you in.
But on top of this psychic debunking we also have the on going collision between Matheson and Silver who has always been the jewel in the crown as so many believe what he does that if she could debunk him it would cause ripples through out the world. There is a sense of toying going on as Silver knows that Matheson will be analysing everything he does whilst she knows that he is going to be keeping an eye on her.
Now all of which makes for a very entertaining drama, a cat n mouse between a showman and an investigator with elements of obsession. But then it tries to give us something else, something which switches the attention from the debunking of psychics to well something which frankly is out there. In truth "Red Lights" was building to something else but it turns it from something which captures your attention by the way that some mentalists work to something which isn't right.
Now beyond the aspect of fascination when it comes to debunking the paranormal "Red Lights" also works because of some spectacular casting. Is there anyone better than Sigourney Weaver when it comes to portraying an academic she has such authority to her that it is completely believable but also one which has extra depth. At the same time Robert De Niro is fantastic as Simon Silver, bringing charisma to the role in such a way that you become charmed by him but also suspicious of him. And then Cillian Murphy brings the energy, the obsession to the movie and he gives the movie the drive so that it feels like it is going somewhere other than a series of fun scenes which debunk mentalists.
What this all boils down to is that "Red Lights" is very entertaining with a wonderful first half full of fun scenes where the tricks of mentalists are revealed. But it is a movie which sadly ends up building towards an out there ending which whilst still entertaining is a bit of a let down after an interesting first half.