By James Davidson
“Old” is the newest film from director M. Night Shyamalan. It is a thriller that follows a family who goes on a vacation to a secluded island with a small group of people in order to get away. While on the island, the group discovers that the island is affecting them in strange ways. Time seems to move faster on this island as they all begin to age at a rapid rate, most notably the children. They soon discover that most of the group is affected by various incurable diseases, which also progress quickly on the island. The group must deal with their individual illnesses as well as try to find a way off of this cursed land. It was released on July 23rd 2021 and is available in theaters.
“Old” is rated PG-13 for strong violence, disturbing images, suggestive content,partial nudity, and brief strong language. This definitely isn’t a film for children. This was a great date night movie and a good movie for a night out with some friends, just leave the kids at home.
As soon as I saw this trailer I was intrigued. I usually like Shyamalan’s films, although they can be a bit hit or miss. For the most part I enjoyed the story, until I started thinking harder about it and discovered some pretty glaring plot holes. (Warning: this review may include spoilers.)
I thought that this plot was intriguing and original. I was enthralled immediately by the story and as it progressed, became even more interested. The plot kept me guessing until the end for the most part. While this film didn’t have a super surprise twist ending that Shyamalan is so well known for, it was still mysterious and kept me on the edge of my seat.
Shyamalan did a good job at aging the characters in the film without it looking too fake. Especially the children. All of the actors that played the children looked similar and it was believable that they were the same person. It was fascinating to watch the children grow, go through puberty and into old age all over the course of one day.
I think that the actors did an amazing job at portraying the characters. The cast did an excellent job at showing the mental duress that one would be under if they were faced with aging fifty years over the course of one day. All of the characters had their own demons to bear and reacted in different ways.
(Spoilers!) My one issue with the film was that once I started digging into the plot more, more questions and problems arose. The island is being used to test different medicines on terminal and incurable illnesses over the course of one day instead of years. The people who own the resort that the island is on invite people to vacation on the island and then, unknown to the subjects, give them experimental drugs for their respective illnesses and monitor the progress. After the subjects die, they then make them disappear. I have several issues with this. The first is that in today’s world of social media and cell phones, there would be some trace of these people on the island even if they had no reception. Also, do these people not tell any of their friends or family that they are going on a vacation and where they are going?
My second issue is that one of the group is a famous rap star. Did they think they could make a famous musician disappear and no one would notice or investigate? My final issue is that I believe if they were straightforward about their intentions, they could probably get volunteers for the study, especially from terminally ill patients. Especially since there is a way to safely leave the island as we find out later.
“Old” was a very interesting and enjoyable thriller. It just doesn’t stand up to much scrutiny. It is a great movie if you just turn your brain off and don’t think too hard about it. The problem with that is a movie like this invites one to think about it and try to find holes in the plot. It earns 3 out of 5 stars