Thursday, July 22, 2021

Old Review: A Beautiful, Dread-Filled Day At The Beach

Gael García Bernal	...	Guy Vicky Krieps	Vicky Krieps	...	Prisca Rufus Sewell	Rufus Sewell	...	Charles Alex Wolff	Alex Wolff	...	Trent Aged 15 Thomasin McKenzie	Thomasin McKenzie	...	Maddox Aged 16 Abbey Lee	Abbey Lee	...	Chrystal Nikki Amuka-Bird	Nikki Amuka-Bird	...	Patricia Ken Leung	Ken Leung	...	Jarin Eliza Scanlen	Eliza Scanlen	...	Kara Aged 15 Aaron Pierre	Aaron Pierre	...	Mid-Sized Sedan Embeth Davidtz	Embeth Davidtz	...	Adult Maddox Emun Elliott	Emun Elliott	...	Adult Trent Alexa Swinton	Alexa Swinton	...	Maddox Aged 11 Gustaf Hammarsten	Gustaf Hammarsten	...	Resort Manager Kathleen Chalfant	Kathleen Chalfant	...	Agnes Francesca Eastwood	Francesca Eastwood	...	Madrid Nolan River	Nolan River	...	Trent Aged 6 Luca Faustino Rodriguez	Luca Faustino Rodriguez	...	Trent Aged 11

Release date: July 23, 2021
Running time: 101 minutes
Written and Directed By: M. Night Shyamalan
Starring: Gael García Bernal, Vicky Krieps, Rufus Sewell, Alex Wolff, Thomasin McKenzie, Abbey Lee, Nikki Amuka-Bird, Ken Leung, Eliza Scanlen, Aaron Pierre, Embeth Davidtz, Emun Elliott 

This summer, visionary filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan unveils a chilling, mysterious new thriller about a family on a tropical holiday who discover that the secluded beach where they are relaxing for a few hours is somehow causing them to age rapidly … reducing their entire lives into a single day. 

Mikaya Fisher	...	Kara Aged 11 Kailen Jude	Kailen Jude	...	Idlib M. Night Shyamalan	M. Night Shyamalan	...	Hotel Van Driver Matthew Shear	Matthew Shear	...	Sidney Daniel Ison	Daniel Ison	...	Greg Mitchel Jeffrey Holsman	Jeffrey Holsman	...	Mr. Brody Margaux Da Silva	Margaux Da Silva	...	Scientist John Twohy	John Twohy	...	CIA Agent Produced by  Marc Bienstock	...	producer (produced by) Ashwin Rajan	...	producer (produced by) Steven Schneider	...	executive producer M. Night Shyamalan	...	producer (produced by)
Old is a mixed bag.  It has some really interesting features and some of that trademark M. Night Shyamalan strangeness, and of course the twist ending, but the journey to get to that part is rough and choppy.  First, for the good, the film features several children and their dialogue is strange, but understandably so.  I liked how the kids asked some random questions and how they spoke to each other, which did feel like how kids would talk.  And the great touch is that as the kids age rapidly on the secluded beaches, their bodies change but the dialogue remains simple.  The performances by the adult kids: Alex Wolff, Thomasin McKenzie, and Eliza Scanlen helped to suspend your disbelief as it often did sound like children in the bodies of grown ups.  And the idyllic setting of the beach is another nice touch.  The beach is simply beautiful, with a peaceful and otherworldly feel to it.  

But it is the small touches that help to sell this film.  For one, the music has a tribal feel to it, but one that also seems to incorporate the sounds of a ticking clock.  It was a small but noticeable touch that I really appreciated.  And the cinematography is a mixed bag, but often it is stellar.  There are some great long takes of the characters as they process what is going on and try to make sense of this strange situation.  And you have some very artful shots that frame the terrible acts happening with this wonderful view of nature.  And one thing that was a subtle but appreciated touch is that the trees around the beach are all aged and dead.  As you're looking past the beach, the trees are beautiful and lush, but they turn brown closer to the actual area.  These little touches do a great job of selling this world and the overall story.

But Old does have some odd quirks, first and foremost with the dialogue.  The film has some lines that just feel random and questionable delivery.  Sometimes the characters sound flat and sometimes the responses just aren't in the same tone as the conversation that is happening.  And the lines can occasionally sound random, like when people offer up information or say statements that don't really relate to the previous conversation.  It's like the film is forcing ideas or plot points onto the screen in an unnatural manner.  And on top of that, there were some weird glitches, like when one of the character's swimsuits changed with seemingly no explanation.  And some of the dread shots just look strange, like a lower budget movie trying to create a sinister effect.  It, like much of the film, was odd and just felt off.  And with the great cinematography, there were some shots that were distracting.  There was one where it had an unfocused view of a character while something else is happening off screen, and another where the shot is of the beach from the water but the waves obscure a small part of the shot every few seconds.  But the film does have a twist ending, and one that was much more acceptable on the spectrum of Shyamalan endings.  

Old has a mysterious story, some very nice performances and small touches, and a trademark M. Night Shyamalan twist ending, but the quirks and odd dialogue might cast some shadows on this beach vacation..

Rent it.

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Old is in theaters on July 23, 2021.  For showtimes, click here.

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