Old

Old

2021, PG-13, 108 min. Directed by M. Night Shyamalan. Starring Gael García Bernal, Vicky Krieps, Alexa Swinton, Nolan River, Rufus Sewell, Ken Leung, Nikki Amuka-Bird, Aaron Pierre.

REVIEWED By Richard Whittaker, Fri., July 30, 2021

Old is a very special kind of film. It's the sort of movie that can only be made by an extremely talented, creative filmmaker who somehow has no idea how to make a film. It craves enigma but then spells everything out. It is late-era M. Night Shyamalan at his most late-era Shyamalan.

He is undoubtedly a director of Big Ideas™ and Old definitely has one of those. A wealthy if troubled family – father Guy (Bernal), mother Prisca (Krieps), daughter Maddox (Swinton), and son Trent (River) – ends up on a mysterious beach where the body’s cells age at an accelerated rate, and the hands on the clock spin so fast that everyone is going to die of old age within hours.

If Shyamalan's early films channeled the resilient compassion of The Twilight Zone, Old aligns closer to the supernatural amorality of Rod Serling's other great creation, Night Gallery. However, you can obfuscate and distract the audience for 22 minutes without providing the kind of coherence a 109 minute movie demands, and Old is quickly revealed as a conch shell of a story: elaborate, clearly the end result of much effort, but with nothing living within it.

As MacGuffins go, this adaptation of Sandcastle, the graphic novel by Pierre Oscar Lévy and Frederick Peeters, comes with a doozy. Yet while Old may set up a fascinating premise, it is a perfect example of the gaping void between having a good idea and knowing what to do with it. Through the clumsiest of mechanisms, every character is introduced by name and career because it is very important that we know who is a surgeon, or a therapist, or an insurance actuary (write me up as "critic laughing out loud at some cringe-inducingly bad sequences"). Why? Because otherwise the hammy expositional dialogue they are forced to recite would choke them. Shyamalan must be a talented director, because how else could he get an entire cast of well-rounded character actors to deliver lines in the same overenunciated and clipped manner? (Only Pierre as rapper Mid-Sized Sedan delivers his part like an actual human.) How else could he so perfectly format shots that are so laughably heavy-handed, or where the camera just seems to forget about the scene and drift off? How did no one fall straight down one of the multitude of plot holes dug by the inconsistencies in how the beach functions?

It's almost like the director has been on a vendetta since The Happening, a clunky if fascinating and possibly inadvertent homage to 1950s proto-environmental Z-movies like The Monolith Monsters. It's like calling it the worst film of his career only challenged him to make worse. Old has the odd mean-spiritedness that has plagued his recent films, and while there's nothing as needlessly grim as The Visit's adult diaper gag, there are still some sequences that feel like they're included on a dare rather than to add anything to the film. There's a sub-Blue Lagoon pregnancy scene that's best just not worth thinking about, and a heavy dose of his lasciviously voyeuristic eye whenever any of the younger women of the cast are in a bikini (as soon as the actress hits 35, it's all flowing beach robes). As for his treatment of mental illness (in this case, Sewell as a surgeon with early onset dementia), it’s as distasteful here as when he got cheap laughs out of senility in The Visit, or personality disorders in Split. To be fair, at least Old captures the sense of time passing past too fast: Rarely have I felt more like my life was slipping away in the cinema.

Showtimes

Sun., Aug. 1

1:15, 4:25, 7:25

Mon., Aug. 2

4:35, 7:25

Tue., Aug. 3

7:35

Wed., Aug. 4

7:20

Sun., Aug. 1

1:15, 4:35, 7:55

Mon., Aug. 2

4:35, 7:45

Alamo Drafthouse Slaughter Lane

5701 W. Slaughter, 512/861-7060, drafthouse.com/austin/theater/slaughter-lane

Showtimes at this venue are subject to frequent change. Please confirm daily times by phone or website.

Sun., Aug. 1

12:40, 3:40, 6:50

Mon., Aug. 2

4:50, 7:45

Tue., Aug. 3

7:30

Wed., Aug. 4

7:30

Sun., Aug. 1

1:45, 4:50, 7:50

Mon., Aug. 2

4:55, 7:55

Tue., Aug. 3

7:55

AMC Dine-In Tech Ridge 10

12625 N. I-35, 512/640-1533, www.amctheatres.com

Sun., Aug. 1

CC/DVS 2:40, 6:10

Mon., Aug. 2

CC/DVS 5:20, 8:20

Tue., Aug. 3

CC/DVS 5:20, 8:20

Wed., Aug. 4

CC/DVS 5:20, 8:20

Arbor Cinema @ Great Hills

9828 Great Hills Trail, 512/231-9742

Discounts daily before 6pm.

Sun., Aug. 1

CC/DVS 1:10, 4:20, 6:50

Mon., Aug. 2

CC/DVS 1:10, 4:20, 6:50

Tue., Aug. 3

CC/DVS 1:10, 4:20, 6:50

Wed., Aug. 4

CC/DVS 1:10, 4:20, 6:50

Thu., Aug. 5

CC/DVS 1:10, 4:20, 6:50

Barton Creek Square (AMC)

2901 Capital of Texas Hwy. S., 512/306-1991, www.amctheatres.com

Matinee discounts available before 4pm daily. Bring Your Baby matinees the first Tuesday of every month.

Sun., Aug. 1

CC/DVS 11:15am, 12:35, 3:20, 5:20, 6:05, 8:50, 10:25

Cinemark 20 and XD

N. I-35 & FM 1825, 512/989-8535

Cost for 3-D and XD shows is regular ticket price plus a premium.

Sun., Aug. 1

digital 10:05am, 11:20am, 12:55, 2:15, 3:45, 5:05, 6:35, 7:55, 9:25, 10:45

Mon., Aug. 2

digital 12:55, 2:15, 3:45, 5:05, 6:35, 7:55, 9:25, 10:45

Tue., Aug. 3

digital 12:55, 2:15, 3:45, 5:05, 6:35, 7:55, 9:25, 10:45

Wed., Aug. 4

digital 10:05am, 11:20am, 12:55, 2:15, 3:45, 5:05, 6:35, 7:55, 9:25, 10:45

Cinemark Cedar Park

1335 E. Whitestone, Cedar Park, 800/326-3264

Call theatre for complete list of movies and showtimes.

Sun., Aug. 1

digital 10:10am, 1:00, 4:00, 7:10, 10:00

Mon., Aug. 2

digital 11:10am, 1:50, 4:40, 7:20, 10:10

Tue., Aug. 3

digital 11:10am, 1:50, 4:40, 7:20, 10:10

Wed., Aug. 4

digital 11:10am, 1:50, 4:40, 7:20, 10:10

Sun., Aug. 1

digital 12:05, 2:55, 5:45, 8:35

Mon., Aug. 2

digital 4:55, 7:50

Tue., Aug. 3

digital 2:20, 5:05, 8:00

Wed., Aug. 4

digital 4:55, 7:50

Cinemark Round Rock

4401 N. I-35, Round Rock, 800/326-3264

Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium. Call theatre for complete March 26-28 showtimes.

Sun., Aug. 1

digital 1:45, 4:40, 7:50

Mon., Aug. 2

digital 1:45, 4:40, 7:50

Tue., Aug. 3

digital 1:45, 4:40, 7:50

Wed., Aug. 4

digital 1:45, 4:40, 7:50

Cinemark Southpark Meadows

9900 S. I-35, 800/326-3264

Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium.

Sun., Aug. 1

digital 10:10am, 11:05am, 1:05, 4:00, 7:10, 7:55, 10:00

Mon., Aug. 2

digital 1:00, 2:15, 3:55, 5:25, 6:45, 8:40

Tue., Aug. 3

digital 1:00, 2:15, 3:55, 5:25, 6:45, 8:40

Wed., Aug. 4

digital 1:10, 2:15, 4:10, 5:25, 8:40

Cinemark Stone Hill Town Center

18820 Hilltop Commercial Dr., 512/251-0938, www.cinemark.com

Sun., Aug. 1

digital 11:00am, 1:45, 4:30, 8:15

Mon., Aug. 2

digital 4:50, 7:40

Tue., Aug. 3

digital 2:05, 4:50, 8:05

Wed., Aug. 4

digital 4:50, 7:40

Sun., Aug. 1

12:15, 2:40, 5:10, 7:35

City Lights Theatre

420 Wolf Ranch Parkway, Georgetown, 512/868-9922

Sun., Aug. 1

1:45, 4:45, 7:20

Mon., Aug. 2

1:45, 4:45, 7:20

Tue., Aug. 3

1:45, 4:45, 7:20

Wed., Aug. 4

1:45, 4:45, 7:20

Evo Cinemas Belterra

166 Hargraves Ste. A-100, 512/457-0700, www.evocinemas.com/drippingsprings

Sun., Aug. 1

2:00, 4:45, 7:45

Mon., Aug. 2

2:00, 4:45, 7:45

Tue., Aug. 3

2:00, 4:45, 7:45

Wed., Aug. 4

2:00, 4:45, 7:45

Thu., Aug. 5

2:00, 4:45, 7:45

EVO Entertainment

3200 Kyle Crossing, Kyle, 512/523-9009, www.evo-entertainment.com

Sun., Aug. 1

11:30am, 2:15, 5:00, 7:45, 10:30

Mon., Aug. 2

11:30am, 2:15, 5:00, 7:45

Tue., Aug. 3

11:30am, 2:15, 5:00, 7:45

Wed., Aug. 4

7:45

Thu., Aug. 5

11:30am, 2:15, 5:00, 7:45, 10:30

Film Alley Bastrop

1600 Chestnut St, Bastrop, 512/321-0123, bastrop.filmalley.net/

Sun., Aug. 1

1:05, 4:30, 7:50

Mon., Aug. 2

1:05, 4:30, 7:50

Tue., Aug. 3

1:05, 4:30, 7:50

Wed., Aug. 4

1:05, 4:30, 7:50

Flix Brewhouse

2200 S. I-35, Round Rock, 512/244-3549, www.flixbrewhouse.com/round-rock

Sun., Aug. 1

12:00, 3:30, 7:30

Mon., Aug. 2

2:00, 8:00

Tue., Aug. 3

2:00, 8:00

Wed., Aug. 4

11:00am, 2:00, 8:00

Thu., Aug. 5

2:45

Galaxy Highland 10

6700 Middle Fiskville, 512/467-7305, www.galaxytheatres.com

No one under 18 will be allowed in the theatre on Friday or Saturday after 7pm without an adult.

Sun., Aug. 1

CC 1:15, 4:05, 7:15, 10:15

Mon., Aug. 2

CC 1:15, 4:05, 7:15, 9:45, 10:15

Tue., Aug. 3

CC 1:15, 4:05, 7:15, 9:45, 10:15

Wed., Aug. 4

CC 1:15, 4:05, 7:15, 10:15

Thu., Aug. 5

CC 1:15, 4:05, 7:20, 10:20

Gateway Theatre

9700 Stonelake, 512/416-5700

Discounts daily before 6pm. Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium.

Sun., Aug. 1

CC/DVS 12:40, 1:10, 3:40, 4:10, 6:35, 7:15, 9:25, 10:05

Mon., Aug. 2

CC/DVS 12:40, 1:10, 3:40, 4:10, 6:35, 7:15, 9:25, 10:05

Tue., Aug. 3

CC/DVS 12:40, 3:40, 4:10, 6:35, 7:15, 9:25, 10:05

Wed., Aug. 4

CC/DVS 12:40, 3:40, 4:10, 6:35, 7:15, 9:25, 10:05

Thu., Aug. 5

CC/DVS 12:40, 1:10, 3:40, 4:10, 6:35, 7:15, 9:25, 10:05

Hometown Cinemas

120 MLK Jr. Industrial Blvd. W, Lockhart, 512/398-4100, www.hometowncinemas.com

Sun., Aug. 1

11:15am, 2:00, 4:35, 7:20

Mon., Aug. 2

11:15am, 2:00, 4:35, 7:20

Tue., Aug. 3

11:15am, 2:00, 4:35, 7:20

Wed., Aug. 4

11:15am, 2:00, 4:35, 7:20

iPic Theaters Austin

3225 Amy Donovan Plaza, 512/568-3400, www.ipic.com

Sun., Aug. 1

12:00, 3:00, 6:15

AMC Lakeline 9

11200 Lakeline Mall Dr., Cedar Park, 512/335-4793

Discounts daily before 6pm.

Sun., Aug. 1

CC/DVS 1:20, 4:10, 7:20

Mon., Aug. 2

CC/DVS 4:20, 7:40

Tue., Aug. 3

CC/DVS 4:20, 7:40

Wed., Aug. 4

CC/DVS 4:20, 7:40

Metropolitan

901 Little Texas, 512/447-0101

Discounts daily before 6pm. Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium.

Sun., Aug. 1

CC 11:45am, 1:15, 2:30, 4:10, 5:15, 6:55, 8:00, 9:45, 10:45
CC/DVS 11:45am, 1:15, 2:30, 4:10, 5:15, 6:55, 8:00, 9:45, 10:45

Mon., Aug. 2

CC 11:45am, 1:15, 2:30, 4:10, 5:15, 6:55, 8:00
CC/DVS 11:45am, 1:15, 2:30, 4:10, 5:15, 6:55, 8:00

Tue., Aug. 3

CC 11:45am, 2:30, 4:10, 5:15, 6:55, 8:00
CC/DVS 11:45am, 2:30, 4:10, 5:15, 6:55, 8:00

Wed., Aug. 4

CC 11:45am, 2:30, 4:10, 5:15, 6:55, 8:00
CC/DVS 11:45am, 2:30, 4:10, 5:15, 6:55, 8:00

Thu., Aug. 5

CC 11:45am, 1:15, 2:30, 4:10, 5:15, 6:55
CC/DVS 11:45am, 1:15, 2:30, 4:10, 5:15, 6:55

Moviehouse & Eatery

8300 FM 620 N., Bldg. B, 512/501-3520, www.themoviehouse.com/trails/

Sun., Aug. 1

12:30, 2:30, 5:30, 8:30

Mon., Aug. 2

12:30, 2:30, 5:30, 8:30

Tue., Aug. 3

12:30, 2:30, 5:30, 8:30

Wed., Aug. 4

12:30, 2:30, 5:30, 8:30

Thu., Aug. 5

11:30am, 2:30, 5:30, 8:30

Moviehouse & Eatery - Lantana Place

7415 Southwest Pkwy., Bldg. 7, 512/572-0770, www.themoviehouse.com/lantana/

Sun., Aug. 1

12:45, 3:30, 6:30, 9:30

Mon., Aug. 2

12:45, 3:30, 6:30, 9:30

Tue., Aug. 3

12:45, 3:30, 6:30, 9:30

Wed., Aug. 4

12:45, 3:30, 6:30, 9:30

Thu., Aug. 5

12:45, 3:30, 6:30, 9:30

Southwest Theaters at Lake Creek 7

13729 Research #1500, 512/291-3158, www.southwesttheaters.com

$6.50 children and senior tickets (all-day), $5 Tuesdays (all tickets), Bargain Matinees before 5pm daily.

Sun., Aug. 1

CC, OC 12:00, 2:35, 5:10, 7:45

Mon., Aug. 2

CC, OC 12:00, 2:35, 5:10, 7:45

Tue., Aug. 3

CC, OC 12:00, 2:35, 5:10, 7:45

Wed., Aug. 4

CC, OC 12:00, 2:35, 5:10, 7:45

Thu., Aug. 5

CC, OC 12:00, 2:35, 5:10, 7:45

Sun., Aug. 1

12:00, 2:45, 5:30, 8:15, 11:00

Mon., Aug. 2

1:30, 4:30, 7:30, 10:30

Tue., Aug. 3

1:30, 4:30, 7:30, 10:30

Wed., Aug. 4

1:30, 4:30, 7:30, 10:30

Thu., Aug. 5

1:30, 4:30, 7:00, 10:00

Westgate 11

4477 S. Lamar, 512/899-2717

Discounts daily before 6pm. Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium.

Sun., Aug. 1

CC/DVS 11:30am, 1:50, 4:30, 7:15, 9:55

Mon., Aug. 2

CC/DVS 11:30am, 1:50, 4:30, 7:15, 9:55

Tue., Aug. 3

CC/DVS 11:30am, 1:50, 4:30, 7:15, 9:55

Wed., Aug. 4

CC/DVS 11:30am, 1:50, 4:30, 7:15, 9:55

Thu., Aug. 5

CC/DVS 11:30am, 1:50, 4:30, 7:15, 9:55

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS FILM

Old, M. Night Shyamalan, Gael García Bernal, Vicky Krieps, Alexa Swinton, Nolan River, Rufus Sewell, Ken Leung, Nikki Amuka-Bird, Aaron Pierre

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