Old ★★★★

As messy as any late-career M. Night Shyamalan movie, but what can I say? The guy’s schtick is simply always up my alley. Old is many things, both good and bad - eerie and eccentric but also episodic and elongated - and at times it bites off more than it can chew (with a certain third act reveal adding more questions than answers and feeling rather unnecessary for the film), but you can’t deny that Shyamalan remains a master of suspense, deftly delivering on the dread present in this petrifying premise with the might of a master of the macabre.

The ensemble is also largely excellent, with Krieps and McKenzie serving as the standouts, while Shyamalan’s thematic throughline here is as thrilling as his twists and turns. The exploration of the varied emotions associated with accelerated aging is dark and depressing but also deeply affecting, with Shyamalan skillfully focusing the film on one core family (García Bernal, Krieps, Wolff, McKenzie) and mining this story for all its substance and sentimentality, resulting in quite the resonant resolution. No matter what flaws you may find, any movie that lands heartbreaking beats as brilliantly as this is a win in my book.

At the end of the day, your opinion of other M. Night works will influence your perception of this particular picture, but if his confounding sensibilities captivate you as much as they do me, you’ll be in for a treat.

2021 Ranked
M. Night Shyamalan Ranked

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