Any new movie casting Robert De
Niro as a suspected ham has something going for it. Christopher Nolan’s twisty,
concept-chewing non-franchise pictures are the obvious inspiration for this
supernatural thriller, which dispatches slightly smug psychic investigators Sigourney
Weaver and Cillian Murphy on Wire-ish
stakeouts; De Niro plays Simon Silver, celebrity spoonbender, Godfather of
gee-whizz, and the pair’s ultimate target. Its talkiness – a holdover from
director Rodrigo Cortés’ man-in-a-box breakthrough Buried – will likely alienate the Paranormal Activity crowd, and it gets vague away from Weaver’s
steely, adult presence: Elizabeth Olsen has rapidly become over-qualified for
her tagalong love-interest role, and Submarine’s
Craig Roberts floats a shonky American accent as one of Murphy’s protégés.
Still, Cortés knows how to engineer both sharp, effective jolts and broader, Insidious-like funhouse business: making
unexpected use of Mungo Jerry, it’s the kind of semi-savvy pulp nonsense
that’ll do should your first choice be sold out.