D: M. Night Shyamalan
Universal / Perfect World / Blinding Edge (M. Night Shyamalan, Marc Bienstock & Ashwin Rajan)
US 🇺🇸 2021
W: M. Night Shyamalan [based on the graphic novel “Sandcastle” by Pierre Oscar Levy & Frederick Peeters]
DP: Michael Gioulakis
Ed: Brett M. Reed
Mus: Trevor Gureckis
Gael Garcia Bernal (Guy Cappa), Vicky Krieps (Prisca Cappa), Rufus Sewell (Charles), Abbey Lee (Chrystal), Alex Wolff / Emun Elliott (Trent Cappa), Thomasin McKenzie / Embeth Davidtz (Maddox Cappa)
M. Night Shyamalan’s 2021 film Old has a very interesting premise, but it ruined by some clunky delivery of some really awkward dialogue, terrible exposition and a stupid twist ending that raises even more plot holes.
Adapted from a French graphic novel, the plot sees a dysfunctional family visit a health resort, where they are guided to a beautiful beach with another family and assorted characters.
Upon the beach, they find that time is accelerated and their young children become teenagers as the day progresses.
Unable to escape, they age with each passing hour, with some of the other visitors falling victim to underlying diseases or ailments, or come to their end trying to swim or climb free.
There are a handful of good things to take away from this mysterious thriller, mostly the cinematography and scenery, which is captured beautifully throughout. The casting for the two main child performances are also good, with Alex Wolff & Thomasin McKenzie as the standout actors, even when the dialogue leaves them high and dry. The central plot device also has a lot of potential and makes for gripping viewing, but it would have been much better had the whole film been a metaphor for how fast time goes and looking after your older relatives while they’re still here, but the writer-director can’t help himself and delivers a Scooby Doo ending involving some mad scientists who would have got away with it if it weren’t for them pesky kids.
One thing I do respect about M. Night Shyamalan is that he funds his films himself, giving him full creative control of all aspects of the film without any studio interference so it’s 100% his own vision. This could work in or against his favour, in all honesty, and he really doesn’t want to become the next Neil Breen. He even gets his family in on the act here, with his daughter warbling a truly terrible song (in the context of the film) over the end credits.
If you want an Old movie by M. Night Shyamalan, I’d recommend The Sixth Sense or Unbreakable over this, as it is occasionally hilariously terrible.