Sunday, July 25, 2021


Movie Name:
Year of Release: 2021
Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Starring: Gael Garcia Bernal, Vicky Krieps, Rufus Sewell, Alex Wolff, Thomasin McKensie, Abbey Lee, Nikki Amuka-Bird, Ken Leung, Eliza Scanlen, Aaron Pierre, Embeth Davidtz, Emun Elliott, Alexa Swinton, Francesca Eastwood, Gustaf Hammarsten, Kathleen Chalfant, Nolan River, Luca Faustino Rodriguez, M. Night Shyamalan
Genre: Drama, Mystery, Thriller
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 6
View Trailer

Synopsis and Review:
After concluding the trilogy he started with "Unbreakable", with the films "Split" and "Glass", writer/producer/director M. Night Shyamalan is back, this time around adapting a graphic novel by the name of "Sandcastle", authored by Pierre-Oscar Levy and Frederick Peeters. The film focuses on the story of a family, comprised of father by the name of Guy, mother by the name of Prisca, and young kids by the name of Maddox, who is 11 and Trent, who is 6. The family is going on resort vacation, since there's quite some stress going on, with some health issues troubling Prisca, but also the looming separation and even possible divorce. Trent quickly makes friends with another young boy, and they both go around the resort introducing themselves, but also getting to know who the guests are. The whole family gets invited by the resort director to visit a very private beach, and they do so alongside another family, who also seems to be going through some stress. This second family is comprised of the matriarch, an elderly lady, who is traveling with her son, a seasoned medical professional, and his much younger and stunning wife, and their young daughter. When they arrive at the beach, they notice a man already there, but decide to leave him alone. As the kids play around, Trent discovers the dead body of a woman. The woman was in fact with the young man who was at the beach. As much as anyone tries to leave the place, they don't seem to be able to do so. As another couple descends on the beach, the events start getting progressively weirder, with the kids suddenly aging rapidly, while the matriarch of the second family suddenly dies. They all decide to unite efforts to figure out what is going on.
M. Night Shyamalan's best films have always primed by the fact that he is able to build a context in which characters are able to exist and feel multi-dimensional, as opposed to brief sketches without much in terms of motivation. "Old" manages to successfully build that context once more, if ever so briefly, by succinctly showcasing the resort, the dynamics of the groups in it, including the main families, before slowly introducing the element of dissonance. And this time around, the director creates a narrative where we witness in real time the events unfurling, as the characters are placed in a foreign environment, and suddenly understand what the beach does to their bodies, and the inevitability of what is taking place. It's a film that for the most part manages to be quite smart, particularly as it toys around with the sense of mortality, and more profoundly with the frailty of people's relationships, and what people hang on to when nothing is left. The characters themselves, is where the film falters quite a bit, since they feel for the most part quite flat, particularly as they lack a true sense of disappointment for where they are, and as the narrative progresses, lack the sense of urgency one associates with a situation as bizarre as the one they're in. It's a film that is nonetheless well crafted, with a strong cast, with the always reliable Rufus Sewell and Gael Garcia Bernal, leading the whole group. The cinematography from Mike Gioulakis is solid, as is the score from Trevor Gureckis. While not as enticing as some of his earlier work, it's still worth watching.