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'Old' Review


Old is a 2021 American thriller film written, directed, and produced by M. Night Shyamalan. It is based on the French-language Swiss graphic novel Sandcastle by Pierre Oscar Levy and Frederik Peeters. The film features an ensemble cast consisting of Gael García Bernal, Vicky Krieps, Rufus Sewell, Alex Wolff, Thomasin McKenzie, Abbey Lee, Nikki Amuka-Bird, Ken Leung, Eliza Scanlen, Aaron Pierre, Embeth Davidtz, and Emun Elliott.

A vacationing family discovers that the secluded beach where they're relaxing for a few hours is somehow causing them to age rapidly, reducing their entire lives into a single day.


M. Night Shyamalan is one of the most divisive directors I've ever seen. He has shaped my love for film just as much as he's impacted my hatred for them. I believe he's one of the best minds in Hollywood despite a good chunk of his films not being great. One of my favorite films is The Sixth Sense, but quite possible my least favorite film is The Last Airbender. I say this because although I am a huge fan of M. Night Shyamalan I will critique this film as any other film. He's made great ones before, but unfortunately this isn't one.

Old was a film defined by wasted potential and poor execution. I hated this film not because it's the worst film ever made but because it could've been great, unfortunately poor execution leaves this film floating in mediocrity. You have a great filmmaker, a great concept, and from what I've heard great source material, but the end product is painfully average and that's only the story because with everything else it's below average.

I believe it comes down to laziness. The film feels lazy, rushed, and like it wasn't given the proper care a film like this needs. Looking back at The Sixth Sense, that was a film that was so gentle and subtle about how it presented it's clues. Here it is loud, obnoxious, and in your face. The opening scene screams it in the most forced and on the nose way. It comes off as comedic and almost like a parody.

When the concept kicks in it does admittedly become intriguing, but that quickly goes away with the awful dialogue, hilariously bad logic, the fact that the story doesn't go anywhere, and just the plain stupid things.

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First the dialogue. These characters have a terrible habit of saying their occupation over and over again. They each say it ten times for no reason. It's only for us to know certain logical points, but because the film doesn't follow any of them it just comes off as annoying. The characters also had a habit of vomiting out exposition and stating the obvious, but that's only if they care because big things would happen and some of the characters would not have a reaction.

The acting was also average at best for most of the film, and I don't think it's the actors. There's only so much you can do when you have dialogue like this.

The second problem was the logic. It was awful, and I'm not talking about if you dig too deep some things might not add up. I'm talking about on the surface and completely in your face things that don't make any sense. The inconsistency kills any bit of immersion this film had. Which wasn't much to begin with, but this is exactly what the problem him. Laziness.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know two plus two isn't five, but still the film tries to sell you in it. It's not even for the purpose of the story. It's not even for story purposes. The inconsistencies aren't there for certain plot elements to work, they're there because the filmmakers didn't care enough to try. It's irritating when someone doesn't care about the product they're putting out.

The next problem is that the film stays in one place the entire time. The question it makes you ask isn't enough to sustain the entire film. A film like Signs makes you ask multiple question, but here you get one and it gets old fast. Halfway through the film I was bored because the characters weren't moving and the plot wasn't advancing. There's also some hilarious attempts at horror. There's one in a cave that had he rolling so much so that it seems almost deliberate. If that wasn't a SNL sketch then I don't know what is.

Overall this film only had one genuine scene and it comes near the end. You wait the entire film for this big reveal and it completely falls flat almost to the point of making the film feel like a big waste of time. It was a lazy outing from a great director who is clearly capable of much more. It's a disappointing film with no real highlights that some people might find somewhat enjoyable, but in the end it ended up just being another film buried in mediocrity.

© 2021 Royce Proctor Jr

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