Old was released in the United States on July 23 and was directed by M. Night Shyamalan. The film currently holds a 51% on Rotten Tomatoes and has certainly been divisive, like many of Shyamalan’s movies. While there are definitely a lot of flaws, I actually came out of the theater quite satisfied.
Old follows a family that is trying to go on a relaxing vacation, while the parents are dealing with some marital issues. As the title suggests, they begin to become older at a rapid pace and have to find out what is causing this strange occurrence.
The two standout performers to me were Alex Wolff (Trent) and Thomasin McKenzie (Maddox). Amid an array of bizarre performances, these two actors stood out. Their acting made me care much more about their characters and they definitely brought a new energy to the film. Besides Wolff and McKenzie, the acting was all over the place for the entirety of the movie. This could be because of a weaker script from Shyamalan, where characters would literally deliver the exact answers that the audience was waiting to see play out. However, instead of actually solving clues and determining the answers, it seemed as if the characters just magically found out what was happening and directly told the viewers.
The biggest strength of Old is how quickly the mysterious events begin to unravel. While it would have been more satisfying to actually solve the clues, rather than have characters spout them directly at us, Old moves at an extremely fast pace once it gets moving. After the initial 15-minute opening setup, the characters are on the beach and it is nonstop chaos until the very end. Coinciding with the complete chaos were actually some awesome horror elements that I wasn’t fully expecting. In fact, throughout parts of the movie, I was actually surprised that it didn’t earn an R rating. The final strength of Old is the message that it presents, which may get lost to some amidst the chaos. As we see these characters complete their whole lives within just a single day, we actually see them grow closer. Shyamalan was telling the audience to appreciate what you have and tell those around you that you love them, because we tend to take things for granted.
As previously mentioned, the biggest weakness of Old is the acting. While it wasn’t entirely awful, the cast definitely had some head scratching line deliveries. There were several scenes with completely monotonous discussions and others where it seemed like the characters were speaking straight to the audience. The dull acting also led to some unintentionally funny moments. While Old ramps up the pace in an amazing way, there are also points in the craziness where random events happen that do nothing to forward the story. Some of those funny moments that I previously discussed were a part of this and they just seemed like very odd set pieces that didn’t need to occur at all. The final issue with Old is sadly the cinematography. While its not bad as a whole, there are just some very weird moments, which seems to be the whole staple of this film. There are scenes in the movie where the camera is in the water during a pivotal moment and the water keeps splashing over it, obstructing the audience from seeing the whole picture. There are other moments where Shyamalan takes the camera off of the action and slowly moves it towards the rocks or water, seemingly for no purpose at all.
The one mixed bag element of this film is the “twist” ending. While it may have been surprising to some, I could see this ending coming from a mile away. I won’t spoil it, but I would have loved to see a more mysterious end to the film, rather than it ending the way that it did. It didn’t ruin the whole film for me, but it just could have been executed better.
While I do have several problems with Old, I ended up walking out of the theater enjoying myself. It is not a masterpiece by any means, or even good for that matter. But not all movies need to be great. Shyamalan satisfied my needs with Old by delivering a unique film about people rapidly aging. While it takes some strange twists and turns along the way, it still held my attention to the very end, which is all that I wanted out of this movie.
If you have liked Shyamalan’s work in the past, I would recommend you to go see this in theaters.
Rating- 6 out of 10 on the scale of awesomeness.
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