Old (Parent And Baby Screening) (15)Cast: Rufus Sewell, Gael Garcia Bernal, Vicky Krieps
Author(s): M Night Shyamalan
Director: M Night Shyamalan
Release Date: 23/07/2021
Running Time: 108mins
Guy, his wife Prisca, 11-year-old daughter Maddox and six-year-old son Trent travel to a tropical paradise only to find that children aren't permitted to play on the nearest beach. Prisca goes online and finds a hidden expanse of golden sand enclosed by rocky cliffs, where her brood can run free. At the cove, the family and other visitors experience rapid ageing and they become convinced that their lives are being compressed into a single day.
LondonNet Film Review
In 1999, M Night Shyamalan guided 11-year-old Haley Joel Osment to a deserved Academy Award nomination as a reluctant medium, who stares into the eyes of Bruce Willis’s disbelieving child psychologist and confides, “I see dead people”. Among six Oscar nods for the film, there were two for Shyamalan’s direction and ingenious script replete with a trademark final reel twist, which he has attempted with diminishing returns in subsequent phantasmagorical nightmares. More than 20 years later, Shyamalan completes the stuttering odyssey from The Sixth Sense to The Complete Nonsense with an outlandish holiday from hell, based on Pierre Oscar Levy and Frederik Peeters’ graphic novel Sandcastle…
Toying sadistically with the flow of time, Old squanders a neat dramatic conceit – a beach where visitors age one year for every 30 minutes spent by the water – with bewildering directorial choices, crude expository dialogue and sluggish pacing that makes it feel like we’re wilting at the same ferocious rate as doomed characters. A gifted international cast including Gael Garcia Bernal, Vicky Krieps and Rufus Sewell are off-kilter, presumably by design, delivering some of their lines without any emotional connection to co-stars and others with derisory overwrought abandon. If there is a method to Shyamalan’s heavily stylised madness, it fails to manifest in 108 minutes of screen time, and certainly not before a convoluted finale that thankfully avoids any ridiculous rug-pulling.
Museum curator Prisca Capa (Krieps) and her actuary husband Guy (Bernal) take their 11-year-old daughter Maddox (Alexa Swinton) and six-year-old son Trent (Nolan River) to a tropical island sanctuary, which she found online. The children are excited when resort manager Nils (Gustaf Hammarsten) offers to arrange a special excursion to a hidden private beach on the same side of the island as a natural preserve. “I only recommend it to certain guests,” smiles Nils.
Another family, comprising cardiothoracic surgeon Charles (Sewell), younger wife Chrystal (Abbey Lee), six-year-old daughter Kara (Kyle Bailey) and his mother Agnes (Kathleen Chalfant), join the Capas on the short minibus ride to a perfectly secluded expanse of sand enclosed by rocky cliffs. Celebrated rapper Mid-Sized Sedan (Aaron Pierre), nurse Jarin (Ken Leung) and his wife Patricia (Nikki Amuka-Bird) join the throng, blissfully unaware that every second they spend in sun-kissed paradise takes them closer to oblivion.
Old is a curious meditation on the ageing process, which slips through our fingers like grains of sand, resulting in more furrowed brows and snorts of unintended laughter than gasps of awe and wonder. Bernal and Krieps work incredibly hard to pull sections of their storyline back from the brink of risibility. Shyamalan’s obligatory cameo as the resort’s minibus van driver achieves a low-key naturalism that is somehow denied the rest of the cast or composer Trevor Gureckis’s intrusive, bombastic score.
– Kim Hu