A movie about telepathy that doesn’t deal with what women want, much less what anyone wants to see? If none of the other seven or so movies coming out this weekend pique your interest, then you can go straight for the DeNiro Blue Light Sundance special known as RED LIGHTS.
In some sort of collegiate school for paranormal research, Sigourney Weaver and Cillian Murphy are researchers teaching during the day and busting con artists at night, when a mysterious psychic from the days of long stem microphones comes out of retirement for a farewell tour.
Who ya gonna call? Not these sad bastards, I hope.
No spoilers, but the partnership isn’t exactly a long lasting one. And somehow Cillian Murphy ends up shacking up with a student of his, who kind of becomes his partner-in-crime (Elizabeth Olsen, in a pathetic girl sidekick role). There’s a lot of bullshit science and “just go with it” logic to make you wish you were watching PARANORMAL INVESTIGATORS on the Discovery Channel. At least that show ends in an hour.
I think I actually heard the pages of the script tear as they were getting stretched so thin.
Will someone give poor DeNiro a decent script? I can’t stand to see him in anymore sad-angry roles like BEING FLYNN or just sad roles like his Vietnam War photographer in NEW YEAR’S EVE. Maybe someone can at least give him a hug. Hell, I’ll give him the hug myself if it means he’ll pick an interesting role from time-to-time. Same goes for Weaver, although she’s had a little more recent luck. Her character’s so earnest, it ventures into camp territory, especially when we get the awkward subplot of her comatose son (really, why must all scientists be driven mad for trying to have a family life?). Oh, and bonus points for casting Toby Jones (the Dream Lord for Doctor Who fans and one of the many British people in TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY) as a nerdy, fumbling professor type. Not a big jump in imagination, but he does provide many of the little amusements needed to get through the movie.
Olsen’s part is minute, so the leading credit is actually Murphey’s. If you didn’t know he could play quiet creepy from RED EYE or BATMAN BEGINS, then I would suggest watching those movies before RED LIGHTS. He’s supposed to be our protagonist, but even we’re too distant from him to really get a sense of his character other than “he’s a pensive guy.”
Until the end of course, because that is goodness wrapped in gaudy gold foil.
Within the last fifteen minutes, we get a crazy bathroom brawl, lots of lens flare, a shitton of shaky footage (THIS IS AN ACTION SEQUENCE!), and DeNiro yelling at the top of his lungs. I will start answering my telemarketer calls with his line, “BUCKLEY, HOW DID YOU DO THAT? BUCKLEY!” So I guess RED LIGHTS wasn’t a total loss.
Oh, and I learned that Cillian Murphey has some crazy-looking cheek bones under the right lighting. Thanks RED LIGHTS!