Thursday 14 July 2022

Old (2021)

Here's the plot of Old. A few different groups of people end up on a lovely beach and discover that time works different there. Although I cannot remember the exact correlation, it's something like half an hour on the beach being the equivalent to one year (this fluctuates though, by my reckoning, so let's not view that measurement as set in stone). While worried by that turn of events, things get even worse for the people on the beach when they realise that they are unable to leave.

Written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan (although it's based on a graphic novel, 'Sandcastle', by Pierre-Oscar Lévy and Frederik Peeters, Old is one of the most staggeringly awful mainstream movies I have seen in some time. Frustratingly, it has a good idea at the heart of it, and there's an explanation at the end of the movie that at least explains some character motivation, but it is never handled well. Much like the characters onscreen, viewers will feel themselves ageing prematurely as this drags itself from one ridiculous moment to the next.

Here are some of the people featured in the cast though, a selection of names that may tempt you into watching the film. Gael García Bernal, Vicky Krieps, Rufus Sewell, Alex Wolff, Thomasin McKenzie, Abbey Lee, Nikki Amuka-Bird, Ken Leung, Eliza Scanlen, and Aaron Pierre. If you're anything like me then you will appreciate at least a couple of those actors. Don't let their involvement here fool you. Shyamalan has left everyone out to dry, giving them a horribly weak script and directing them to act in a way that is so far removed from their best work that you won't believe that the Vicky Krieps here, for example, is the same woman who did such amazing work in Phantom Thread. Nobody comes out of this well.

Although different from the more overt format of what many used to (and some may still) view as his biggest mis-step, Lady In The Water, Shyamalan has once again tip-toed his way right back to the cause of his previous "fall from grace", a plot that revolves people figuring out they are simply characters in a plot being crafted by someone else. There's one big difference this time around, the author of the narrative being someone who deliberately causes harm, even if it is for the greater good, but it certainly feels like Shyamalan has gone for another swim in the turbulent waters of hubris.

There's nothing else here that feels as if it is worth mentioning. I wasn't a big fan of the score, the special effects were sometimes good and sometimes not so good, and no one aspect can make up for that killer combination of the poor script and poor performances. I even think the cinematography, editing, shot choices, etc. seemed to be hampered by Shyamalan dedicating himself to creating a vision that he never really got a proper grip on.

My advice is to stay as far away from this as possible. And, funnily enough, I don't think time will be kind to it.


If you have enjoyed this, or any other, review on the blog then do consider the following ways to show your appreciation. A subscription/follow costs nothing.
It also costs nothing to like/subscribe to the YouTube channel attached to the podcast I am part of -
Or you may have a couple of quid to throw at me, in Ko-fi form -

No comments:

Post a Comment