Transcribed Ep 32: Old (R.2021)

REEL Film Reviewed Podcast Episode 32 –  Show Transcript

M. Night Shyamalan’s Old 


Welcome to REEL Film Reviewed the show that delivers short spoiler free reviews of films, TV shows, and limited series, followed by a deep dive discussion.

Brought to you by your host Kris Chaney, here is REEL Film Reviewed.


Welcome back, everyone.

This episode REEL Film Reviewed  M. Night Shyamalan’s newest trip. Old. 

I look forward to M. Night Shyamalan’s films because they’re so different from anything I have or will see. Whether it’s by him or not. You can always count on him to deliver something that will make you think of things in an entirely new way. He’s a very creative individual. I know he gets a lot of heat for the films that don’t do as well. Like The Village and The Last Airbender film.

So the summary for Old.

Families on vacation take a drive for a day at a private beach. As the day goes on, they begin to realize that somehow they’re aging rapidly, reducing their entire lives into a single day.

Looking at the stories, as I mentioned, I quite enjoy M. Night Shyamalan’s films, not all of them but most of them are decent with a truly original plot line. This film was not 100% original. M. Night has read a graphic novel before making this film called Sandcastle by Pierre-Oscar Lévy, which inspired this film but it wasn’t an adaptation. 

I enjoyed the combination of different people that were included in this vacation trip. They did not know each other, but often when you stay at a resort and partake in the resort activities, you typically meet other families on those outings and you get a good mix of people. I’ve taken a few trips like that, and I know many friendships can form through those kinds of trips as well.

And this trip, a few families have children. Some are step-parents, some are just couples, and others are solo and meet other solo people there. The realization of the aging was the big focus I wanted to see when I started this. I was curious from the moment I saw the poster about how the story would unfold once they got to the aging piece. This was done very well, it was gradual enough to be believable but also rapid enough to achieve the desired dramatics. 

Some pieces were a little funny and scary as they discovered things. Everyone was different, and so the realization was different for each person. Coming to the end of the film, you usually learn the most about the story for M. Night Shyamalan films. An example of that is Signs where we learn in the last few moments of the film some crucial pieces for that story. I won’t reveal any spoilers for those who haven’t seen Signs.

After coming to the end of this film and reflecting on the events that led up to it, it landed very well. There were a few outrageous moments, but overall, I feel Night has found a good rhythm for delivering the mystery, the creepy, the weird along with a decent story and a thrill for the audience. 

I liked it. I won’t say much more beyond that except to say I enjoyed this storyline very much. 

Looking at the cast, we have Gael Garcia Bernal and Vicky Krieps, they play a married couple with two kids. Rufus Sewell and Abby Lee play a married couple with one kid. Ken Leung and Nikki Amuka-Bird play a married couple but they don’t have any children. 

We learn something about each of the characters, but not too much is discussed about their personal lives. The cast was wildly diverse with not just each person but their characters as well, and they are what you would find on vacations. There were pieces of the film as the characters started aging and the ways they interact with each other that made it a little bit out there. We will talk more about that in the discussion later. 

Night is kind of turning into Stanley, where he makes appearances in some way in his films. He was also in this one, but in a minor role as he typically plays. 

Overall, the cast did very well with each other. I was not crazy about Abbey Lee and her role and character. I felt he could have had someone stronger play that role or develop the character a little bit more. We only learned about one family’s history, but all the characters were just as important. We didn’t get a whole lot of backstory on the rest of the characters, and there was even a moment in the film where we could have learned a little bit of a headliner on each one, but it could have been also to preserve mystery. 

The REEL View rating is 6 out of 10 stars.

The story and cast were just good enough to make this an enjoyable experience, but there were some pieces that were a bit much, a few shots that confused me and a couple of scenes that left me unsure as to why it was happening. I will dive more into that in the discussion as well when I compare it to the Hollywood Critics review.

Old was written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan, starring Gael Garcia Bernal, Vicky Krieps, Rufus Sewell, Abbey Lee, Ken Leung, Nikki Amuka-Bird, Alex Wolff and Thomasin McKenzie.

It is rated PG 13 and has a run time of 1 hour and 48 minutes.

It is viewable in select theaters and available to rent or buy on Amazon and Amazon Prime Video. 

All right, here is the Spoiler alert warning. Those new to REEL Film Reviewed after this point, I will discuss this review further, potentially and likely revealing Spoilers.

Thank you for listening to the Spoiler free review.

I’ll be back after a word about my sponsors

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Spoiler Alert

Welcome back, everyone. 

Let’s dive into the REEL View Hollywood Comparison for M. Night Shyamalan’s film. Old.

The REEL View was 6 out of 10 stars. 

Hollywood gave it 5.8 out of 10 . Pretty close, practically a six. And I’ll explain a little bit about why I gave it that rating. 

Basic plotline recap. 

This film was about families trying to get away and forget life except for the children obviously. They all had medical or mental problems of some kind, come to find out, they were vetted for those problems and brought to this island by Warren and Warren. But none of them know that they are behind this island getaway.

We learn that Warren and Warren is a mysterious pharmaceutical company testing their experimental drugs on the batches of the people that they vet and bring to this island. 

That was the twist. 

But the weird element was the effects of the island, which was causing the rapid aging. It was discovering this island that allowed them to be able to collect what they needed to, to be able to market and sell their drugs, essentially testing their experimental drugs in one day. 

Breaking down the REEL View, the physical aging was very gradual for how fast they were aging and of course, it gets a bit over the top with Abbey Lee’s character breaking her bones and healing in all sorts of odd places. And as they’re trying to take this tumor out of the mother, her incision is closing around their fingers. With these kinds of things going on, the adults should have been much older than they were at the times of their deaths. 

The children go from being single digit children to adults in their fifties, at least that is how old Trent says that he is. They appear to be much younger than that but that’s what he said. 

The tumor scene was a bit much for me, it was very hard to believe. She is aging now, being on this area of the island and the tumor grows as well. It looks like a golf ball then a moment later, it looks like the size of a softball and then she collapses. And they’re taking it out and after, of course, the weird blunder of the incision closing around their fingers she also gets no infections and nothing else was sewn up after they cut the tumor out. We were to assume that her body was healing within seconds, along with her aging yet near the end of the day, she still looks relatively the same. She slightly aged a little bit.

The medical studies for this were conducted illegally and unethically so the data would still need to be produced from human trials to show the drug works. But not only was everyone dead, they were most, if not all, missing persons, as confirmed by the police officer at the end. So that piece kind of fell apart. 

The random assortment of characters accompanying the story, the guy who plays rapper Mid-Size Sedan and the girl solo pair he gets blamed for the first woman who died and then gets stabbed to death by the doctor Charles. 

And we also do not understand what issues Charles is having, clearly something to do with memory such as Alzheimer’s or dementia. It’s not made clear those were some reasons I scored it down. 

Another reason was the ending kind of backtracks, so we can see how Trent and Maddox got out, but do we see how they got out? 

How did the coral split? 

How did they get back to the island? 

We see them in the water after they come up out of the coral, but they still have to make it there, and it’s not that close to the swim. Then they have to find a way to get out of the water. From the angle that we saw from where they were in the water, it looked like they were going to have to climb up the side of the cliffs. 

We don’t see how they got up, and it’s also a bit odd that they were simply on the other side of the island where the resort was. I would think that someone would see them or they would see the people.

Trent eventually sees what appears to be a camera but of course, by this point, it doesn’t really matter. And maybe that was the point for it to not matter once they got to this part of the beach because they weren’t able to leave. 

There were some inconsistencies with how much we learned about some people. Some we learned a fair amount about. Others, we learned little, such as the rapper and the first woman who died. We also don’t learn much about Charles and his family. He and his wife appear to have somewhat of a strained relationship, but there’s not really too much detail that goes into their history. 

I didn’t care too much for the scene with Maddox and Trent after they begin to age and how they led up to them being revealed as older, they didn’t have mirrors or anything, so I know it wasn’t super obvious but the whole; guess how old I am thing was kind of cheesy. 

I also did not care for Kara getting pregnant by Trent, it was an add that was a little weird for two people who just a couple of hours ago were young children, not teenagers. I understand it may have been to show the presence of puberty in the rapid aging process, but a bit unnecessary with everything else going on and there also could have been a better way to show this. Like “Show me yours, I’ll show you mine.” But they jumped right to sex and after he says, I thought I had to do it multiple times when she gets pregnant. I’m thinking a six year old boy doesn’t even know about stuff like that. Neither one was really old enough to know what to do, a little unbelievable.

Also time, when would they have had the time to already be ready for sex? 

You would think, though physically they were growing, mentally, they were still children. So wouldn’t they explore first? 

Losing memory and sight are still physical aging, not mental capacity or maturity. I liked the storyline as it unfolded, and as the bad things started occurring, I thought it was funny when six year old Trent says to his mum he needed to take his swimming trunks off and she sees that — that he’s growing. [Laugh] 

And as the realizations are happening, the camera jumps from family to family to show their situations and that was well done in terms of timing to cover the time that they all notice the aging. 

Guy and Prisca are from Philadelphia yet they have specific foreign accents, and that was a little bit odd. 

I liked the gradual realization, as I’ve mentioned, along with the turn of events as they’re realizing it. And at the end we almost didn’t realize–or we almost don’t realize when the kids come out that they’re the only ones left. One by one, they were either taken out or died of some sort of medical failure. And I liked that the morning of the sole survivors, brother and sister, the two that were not necessarily the youngest, because Kara, obviously or Kara obviously takes a dive off of the cliff after her, that they were the children. So it kind of makes sense that they would have been the last ones. 

So as they emerge grown after growing up so much emotionally in the last few hours, it kind of just gives a nice little opening to that new day. And before they adult, they stopped to make a sandcastle. It was such a great combination of the vibe of the film, with them being children in the adult bodies. But they are still a little advanced for me as far as what I mentioned earlier about them being children mentally, but not physically.

I also liked that they both made it out at the end, and not just the brother as it looked like it was going to be when they were trapped in that coral. 

M. Night Shyamalan continues to push the envelope and try to give moviegoers a wonderful and unique cinematic experience, and I can tell that he’s become a little bit of a people pleaser. It was apparent as he tried to make everything that was going on as clear as he could. That very thorough explanation at the end of the film, we got good closure there. 

There was a lot of aging of the older actors, I do want to mention that. I felt with the comparison of time with how fast her cells were rejuvenating also known as: healing. When the surgery was going on, that they could’ve been physically much older looking than they were when they died. 

Another part of the surgery scene that I want to mention was; she was healing so fast that she healed from the first incision within seconds and this was happening so fast that they actually had to hold her incision open with their fingers as the doctor was trying to cut around the tumor.

But this is more an example of rapid cell rejuvenation, not aging. 

Like Wolverine, Wolverine does not age. he heals rapidly. This is kind of when the illusion breaks a little bit, an example of when you do too much, you can impact your core point. 

All right, so some: Did you know facts. 

This film was also a product of 2020 pandemic precaution filming and the full cast and crew submitted to daily testing, and they did not have one single outbreak. Which is amazing given how things have been and how they were at the height of the pandemic. 

Old was filmed on 35 millimeter film stock and that’s the first time that he’s broke from digital since The Last Airbender in 2010 and this is also the first time that he filmed entirely outside of Greater Philadelphia, though he did still mention his Philadelphia in there. 

There was a nod to the graphic novel in the film when the children find a book containing a theory about what is happening on the island. This book was written in during the graphic novel by one of the characters who is a science fiction novelist. Or an aspiring one who comes up with theories about the situation and how that happened. 

Overall, this was a decent film. I really enjoyed it and again, I really enjoy M. Night’s creativity and the way that he pushes the envelope and the way that he builds a story and carries it on. 

This film kind of had some small moments where it went a little bit too far, and I think he was just kind of having fun with it too, but overall, I really enjoyed this. 

Let me know if you’ve seen it or you do see it after the review. Comment on my Twitter. Message me, let me know what you think.

Because I mentioned there are a lot of different polls and things like that that I run and I’m always curious to hear your opinions on the films.

Thank you for listening, everyone. I’ll catch you next time. 


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Happy watching everyone.

Published by Kris C.

Kris is the host of the REEL Film Reviewed podcast, the owner of REEL ProduCtions, LLC, (the capital C is intentional) and is an independent filmmaker.

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