Old (2021)

A group of families on a tropical holiday discover that the secluded beach where they are staying is somehow causing them to age rapidly – reducing their entire lives into a single day.

M. Night Shyamalan’s new movie, OLD, is not a great movie for several reasons, but at least the concepts he explores make us think. For that reason, it is worth seeing.
The story examines the existential crisis that comes when discovering that you must live your life compressed into one day. How would we cope with that? What impact would it have?
The acting is off-putting to start with. But I think it’s partly to do with the fact that most characters in the story are hiding something. As the day progresses, these “masks” fall away as each person must grapple with their lives passing before them so fast that quick decisions must be made about how to live it.
There is the usual Shyamalan twist at the end so try hard to avoid spoilers. There is some moderate suspense which, in my view, could have been more intense if Shyamalan didn’t pull away from showing us more of what the characters are seeing. His camera shots are often so close to the actors that we must try and sense, from their facial expressions, the horror they are witnessing. But that doesn’t always work in this case.
The cinematography is superb and contributes to the sense of unease.
While this is billed as a mystery thriller, the thrills are mild, the mystery and themes are under-explored, and, for me, the real value is in thinking through the issues the story raises after watching the film. One thing I do know: if I knew where this beautiful beach was, I think I’d be avoiding it! But there are lessons to be learned about living the life we are given even when not at the beach.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

(In cinemas in Australia – check your movie guide for your local show times.)