Combustible Celluloid
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With: Gael García Bernal, Vicky Krieps, Rufus Sewell, Ken Leung, Alex Wolff, Abbey Lee, Nikki Amuka-Bird, Eliza Scanlen, Kathleen Chalfant, Gustaf Hammarsten, Thomasin McKenzie, Embeth Davidtz
Written by: M. Night Shyamalan, based on a graphic novel by Pierre-Oscar Lévy, Frederick Peeters
Directed by: M. Night Shyamalan
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for strong violence, disturbing images, suggestive content, partial nudity and brief strong language
Running Time: 108
Date: 07/23/2021

Old (2021)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Age Turner

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

M. Night Shyamalan's Old follows the familiar Shyamalan formula, with all the little clues placed in secret places, calculated to pay off later, and his clean, impressive filmmaking technique smashed together with his aggravating writing style. And, yet, damned if it doesn't all kinda work. It definitely hits on a primal fear, the deterioration of the body, or any of a million things that can go wrong with our cherished, imperfect selves. Three families on vacation at a fancy resort are given a special invitation to a private beach. After a while, three of the children are noticeably bigger. An unhinged surgeon (Rufus Sewell) takes a knife to a rapper (Aaron Pierre), and the cut heals up immediately. A dead body is discovered, and it decomposes quickly. And, worse, they can't leave. Every time they try to traverse the narrow canyon that serves as an entrance, they black out and are deposited back on the beach. And so it goes, with increasingly alarming things happening. Bits and pieces of Old are overwritten and weirdly performed, but in a way, the weirdness contributes to the overall unsettling effect of the movie, and Shyamalan's gliding, off-kilter camerawork is maddeningly effective. The denouncement certainly provides food for thought.

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