Film Review – Old

Old (M)

Directed by: M. Night Shyamalan

Starring: Gael Garcia Bernal, Vicky Krieps, Rufus Sewell

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Review by: Julian Wright

The king of the third act twist M. Night Shyamalan turns his attention to a graphic novel to explore how we react to the ageing process.

Guy (Gael Garcia Bernal) and Prisca (Vicky Krieps) have taken their two young children, 11 year old Maddox (Alexa Swinton) and six year old Trent (Nolan River), to a luxurious resort in a tropical location for a family holiday.

Vicky has just had a health scare and it could be the last holiday the family spends together with her marriage to Guy on the verge of falling apart completely.

But a day trip to the beach organised by the resort finds the family and a selection of other vacationers trapped by a mysterious and invisible force and they all begin to age rapidly.

After getting off to a shaky start with on the nose dialogue setting up the theme and some questionable performance choices by the cast – under Shyamalan’s guidance – Old, eventually settles into some terrifying territory, with a focus on body horror.

Because what is more terrifying than watching your own body age and deteriorate? It is a universal anxiety, facing a our mortality and experiencing our young, gorgeous bodies slowly malfunction and crumble throughout the years. But when it is sped up? Horrifying.

Working against the repetitive nature of the set-up (there is a lot of running back and forth on this short beach pointing out each character looks older), Shyamalan gets creative with his camera and sound design, always finding ways to keep the story developments fresh.

He manages to maintain a high level of tension throughout and despite the trailer suggesting there isn’t much else to discover, there certainly is, and it is difficult to tell where Shyamalan is heading with this story.

Old isn’t top tier Shyamalan like The Sixth Sense, but it isn’t lower tier either like The Happening – perhaps around the middle with The Village. And the third act twist? It is getting old.

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