Same Old Same Old
After watching Old, it’s hard to believe that writer/director M. Night Shyamalan is the same person who brought audiences such brilliantly crafted films such as The Sixth Sense and Signs. It’s sad to see that with his latest effort, he has completely lost touch with the ability he once possessed to write and direct convincing stories let alone heart-pounding supernatural mysteries. While I have never walked out of a movie before, I wanted to do so about a half-hour into this film. However, I decided to stick with Old until its brutal anti-climactic finish.
Guy Cappa (Gael García Bernal) and his wife Prisca (Vicky Krieps) are headed for imminent divorce but haven't a clue how to disclose this to their children, 6-year-old Trent (Nolan River) and 11-year-old Maddox (Alexa Swinton). They decide that embarking on a final vacation before divulging that their marriage is beyond saving will soften the blow. Furthermore, Prisca also harbors a secret from them. She has a cancerous tumor ravishing her stomach. No wonder Prisca was delighted to discover a seemingly incredible deal for a tropical island resort after scouring the Internet for the perfect destination.
Meanwhile, Charles (Rufus Sewell), a gifted physician recently diagnosed with schizophrenia, and his wife Chrystal (Abbey Lee) have also checked into the resort with their 6-year-old daughter Kara (Kyle Bailey) accompanied by her grandmother Agnes (Kathleen Chalfant),
Trent soon encounters a sullen boy named Idlib (Kailen Jude) who lacks any friends because his uncle (Gustaf Hammarsten) who runs the resort has forbidden him from any contact with children who are guests of the establishment.
Both families make the ill-fated decision to take the advice of one of the resort’s workers (M. Night Shyamalan) to have him drop them off at a private beach that other guests are completely unaware of. It soon becomes evident that all is not well with this beach and that a lack of cellphone reception is the least of their problems.
Meanwhile, Brendan (Aaron Pierre), better known as rap-artist Mid-Sized Sedan. is perplexed and initially blamed by the others when the woman he was with goes missing and later discovered to have drowned. While an average body takes years to completely decompose, everyone becomes astonished and very worried when this process takes her body only minutes to do so. Also, during this strange situation, Agnes suddenly keels over and is dead before she hits the ground.
Moreover, Kara now portrayed by Mikaya Fisher and Trent (Luca Faustino Rodriguez), who had been frolicking in the water, emerge from it as 11-years-old, and Maddox (Thomasin McKenzie) instantly becomes 16-years-old. Then within a half-hour Maddox. now portrayed by Thomasin McKenzie, Trent (Alex Wolff), and Kara (Eliza Scanlen) continue to age every 30 minutes until they are fully grown.
(Spoiler Alert). It seems that anyone -- especially those who venture into the water -- will eventually age 50 years and live out their entire lives in one day if they can't get off of the beach, which is controlled by a mysterious force field.
Shyamalan’s constant attempts to raise the stakes and suspense ultimately prove to be futile because he telegraphs the film’s ending early into the movie. And he never capitalizes on the film’s intriguing premise while wasting the talents of his cast, especially McKenzie whose considerable talent is underutilized.
(Released by Universal Pictures and rated “PG-13” for disturbing images, brief strong language, partial nudity, strong violence and suggestive content.)