From the current issue of Clash.
Rodrigo Cortés’s previous film Buried made quite an impression, despite his resources amounting to little more than Ryan Reynolds and a box. This time around, he’s spoilt for riches with a sizeable budget, star names (Robert de Niro, Cillian Murphy, Sigourney Weaver) and some rising talent (Elizabeth Olsen, Submarine’s Craig Roberts).
Murphy and Weaver lead as two physicists who investigate the so-called paranormal workings of fraudulent mediums. They can easily discredit most cases until they’re faced with the long-awaited return of the enigmatic psychic Simon Silver (de Niro).
So far, so X-Files? It sure sounds so. Yet Cortés skillfully weaves metaphysical intelligence, swathes of atmosphere and lashings of comedy (from a nerdy pun about Occam’s Razor to the frankly hilarious sight of a young Silver, which is effectively a visual parody of de Niro’s famous expressions) to intensely cerebral effect.
As with Buried, the conclusion will prove to be particularly divisive: is it an ingenius narrative leap, or does it simply sell-out the film’s prior integrity? It’s immensely difficult to judge, but it takes little away from the brilliance of what preceded. If Cortés can tighten up his finales, this growing master of highbrow mainstream movies could well become the next Christopher Nolan.