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Old – Movie Review

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Old – Movie Review

Rating: B (Good)

Trailer/Thumbnail Courtesy Universal Pictures

M. Night Shyamalan is a director with an interest in mostly unseen forces and with Old, he attempts to tap into our fear of aging. The film has a simple premise and he executes it with a slow-burn intensity. The characters are properly established and there is an intrigue in what will happen to them as they age on this mysterious beach. Things are eventually revealed, but before then, there is uncertainty about what will happen to some of the characters. There are quite a few intense scenes that do get under the skin and while there are some slow moments, Shyamalan doesn’t take long to get our interest back.

There is intrigue from the start, even though Shyamalan has trouble with writing the child protagonists. The dialogue sounds too much like adults speaking, which can be a tad distracting. Once the central characters arrive on the beach, that’s when he starts making things unsettling. You know they will eventually start aging, but Shyamalan makes sure we get to know them first. Some are more fleshed out than others, but little things and flaws eventually come to the surface. The most intriguing development comes from the main family’s son Trent and his rapid aging. Shyamalan captures the uncertainty that comes from this unusual predicament and how that affects his personality. His sister goes through a change, too, but her personality stays largely consistent.

Gael Garcia Bernal and Vicky Krieps have some affecting scenes together as they too wrestle with this scary situation. Shyamalan seems intent on exploring the changes in a relationship and how time can change the complicated love between two people. Ken Leung’s role mostly serves to provide some theories and explanations for this event, while Rufus Sewell primarily functions as the other main antagonist alongside the mysterious aging. What helps keep the intrigue is the uncertainty of what will happen to each of these people. One isn’t sure if Shyamalan will allow for some relief, something horrifying or a sad resolution.

The film doesn’t shy away from showing some uneasy moments and Shyamalan doesn’t skimp on the violence. Even though there is a significant amount of dialogue as characters try to figure out what’s going on, he also lets the visuals do the talking. There are multiple scenes that will stick in one’s mind, as he makes sure to highlight the pain that occurs. The score by Trevor Gureckis is also pivotal in occasionally showing the horror of the situation and his other pieces convey the appropriate mood. The ending maybe explains a little too much, when leaving something to the imagination might have been preferred, but it’s inevitable the mystery would get unravelled.

Old is definitely the kind of movie that people obsessed with poking logic holes into something will dig into. For other viewers, who just want a horror movie to vibe with, it does the job well enough. M. Night Shyamalan has his own unique approach to the genre and while some of the dialogue may be clunky at points, Old provides the needed mood. The film makes sure we get to know these characters and there’s a curiosity in where their fates will lead. There is some creativity in how they are changed by this experience and Shyamalan keeps the plot moving. Like many of his films, it’s sure to generate a lot of conversation about how effective the execution is.

Stefan Ellison