Choose an intriguing premise and deliver on it, perhaps this was the objective for Director Rodrigo Cortes’ in only his third feature length outing, and in the main success is achieved in this paranormal escapade.
The premise is the draw of the movie from the start as University lecturers and professional scoffers Margaret Matheson (Sigourney Weaver) and Tom Buckley (Cillian Murphy) set about unveiling psychics and clairvoyants as fraudsters preying on believers, with Weaver the veteran to Murphy’s apprentice never witnessing a miracle or extra-terrestrial intervention in her thirty years of disproving scammers.
When DeNiro’s Simon Silver resurfaces years after a suspicious encounter with a former sceptic, Tom looks to take down the godfather of soothsayers against the advice of Margaret.
Margaret’s reluctance adds further mystery to the enigmatic Silver, never proven to be anything other than someone who possesses great power and a man of great importance and significance to the faithful watching world.
It’s all pretty solid stuff, but lacks any great directing flair from the ‘Buried’ helmer, Ryan Reynold’s man in a box vehicle provided greater shifts in style, conjuring more from a smaller canvas than afforded this time; and with first gear performances from a pool of A-class acting ability, not given any real emotional meat to get their teeth into they’re only as accomplished as expected from an unchallenging script that seems to only rely on its intriguing premise.
The most isn’t made of the well created suspense, indebted to the fascinating proposition, and the paranormal activity is mild with scant thrills and tame chills. A frantic mid-section provides some jumps as Tom starts to unravel, but it’s the usual bangs and theatrical jangles.
The hook of as to what Silver will finally be revealed as, fraud or something else, is the promise that must be delivered on, and after 110 minutes of solid but standard plotting, the conceptually brilliant, and most likely divisive finale is shockingly delivered, confusing and thrust on too quickly when not in keeping with a more methodical pacing in the most part of a wasteful movie. Its rushed and not so sure footed, and with more patience could have made Red Lights far more supernatural.