Shyamalan organizes his little temporal chaos with a consummate art of entertainment. Not a great movie, but a good time.
In the career of a Hollywood author, there would be on the one hand “films” – works of author which give to see and reflect – and on the other hand “movies” – entertainment apparently less personal and more commercial. We borrow this distinction from the work of David Fincher: on one side The Social Network and on the other The Game , roughly. Neither is less of a Fincher than the other; neither is necessarily better than the other; but you will agree that the aim is not the same. This introductory precision to indicate that, you guessed it, Old is in the work of Shyamalan, a “movie” rather than a “film”.
The subject isby Frederik Peeters and Pierre Oscar Levy: on an exotic beach, vacationers who meet by chance for an excursion start to age rapidly. Half an hour is worth a year. Why how ? Do you really think we’ll tell you? In fact, the reason (because there is one, and it will be explained in the last fifteen minutes moreover not terrible) is not at all the subject of the film. What interests Shyamalan, obviously, is to orchestrate this little temporal chaos with a slightly vicious gluttony, rather than to set up the twist mechanism which would be his trademark: this would be forgetting that the director scene from Sixth Sen is much better, in its sense of emotion and entertainment, than its “final revelations”
Pushing the film into its usual fantasy territory, on the twilight border where normal and abnormal overlap (the Twilight Zone remaining the unsurpassable horizon of strange US fiction ), Old is a twisted B series where the filmmaker manages to slip his obsessions: watch for appearances of the color purple, and also of the filmmaker himself, in the frame, for example.
And some passages, thanks to the couple formed by the excellent Gael Garcia Bernal and Vicky Krieps, arouse emotion when you least expect it, in the middle of these sets of supported frames (a lot of primers and backgrounds), manipulative tracking shots. Without too much spoiler -you’ll understand when you see it- Oldbecomes very funny when we consider it as a kissing reflection of The Young Water Girl , where the filmmaker puts himself on the stage just as much, but not as a cursed author misunderstood by critics but as himself: a director definitely more smart than the others.