When I was a little girl, all I ever wanted to do was be a grown up. Somehow, in my pre-adolescent mind, all my troubles would miraculously disappear if I were just an adult. Now, my troubles feel insurmountable and I long for simpler times of just being a kid. No bills, just a carefree existence that I thought would last forever.
M. Night Shyamalan’s new thriller centers around a family on tropical vacation who discover the secluded beach they are chilling on is somehow causing them and those around them to age rapidly reducing their entire lives into a single day.
Here’s what I did enjoy about OLD. This film subtly hints at the heartbreak that comes with senior life like brittle bones, hearing loss, senility and the dismissive attitude of others due to lack of respect for elders. Many of the camera angles are interesting, with a good deal of them in extreme close up, overhead or over the shoulder. The sound design, music and beautiful cinematography captures the grace, calmness and terror of the ocean, beach and mountains with a simple sound or camera move. Kudos to Douglas Aibel on casting pairs of children in various stages of aging assisting the belief around this oddly sense of aging. I’m always down for a good filmmaker cameo in the tradition of Hitchcock and Shyamalan delivers and by casting himself in the role of a resort shuttle driver. Last, not least, diversity is on parade with all of the couples being interracial on one level or another.
However, what I found to be a little confusing is that we don’t find out why these unsuspecting victims are aging until the third chapter with all events leading up to that moment feeling not fully fleshed out. All of the characters have various illnesses in common, but other than that we don’t know a lot about them other than their professional titles. Patricia (Nikki Amuka-Bird) is a psychologist and her husband, Jarin (Ken Leung), is a nurse. Aaron Pierre plays a rapper whose name is Mid-Sized Sedan. Rufus Sewell (Charles) is a doctor and his wife Chrystal (Abbey Lee), isn’t given a chance to describe her career, but we learn her illness is a calcium deficiency. Their daughter, Kara (Kyle Bailey) and Charles’s mother, Agnes (Kathleen Chalfant) are along for the ride and we know little to nothing about them. Trent’s older sister, Maddow (Alexa Swinton), is 11 years old and their parents are Guy (Gael García Bernal) and Prisca (Vicky Krieps). We know little about them except they fight often and Prisca wants a divorce. Oh yeah, she has a tumor.
The manner in which most of these characters meet their demise is very violent and often gruesome, which was a bit much for me. At the end of the day, while OLD, is a wickedly cool concept and makes a valid statement centered around aging, the sun and it’s possible causes, the whole journey felt like a vacation that probably should’ve been cut short.
Produced by Universal Pictures, OLD is in theaters now.