I think the last M. Night Shyamalan movie I saw was Devil? It’s been a minute, is all I’m saying. Now that everyone knows what his schtick is, his strength lies not in tricking you into thinking the movie you’re watching is a straightforward drama when actually there’s a twist, but in giving you the twist early and leaving you to figure out what’s going on, if you can. (The Servant on AppleTV is also doing this, but it’s a multi-season TV show, not a movie.)
Old is about some people on (Mexican? Caribbean? Central American?) vacation who go to an isolated beach for the afternoon, only to discover that they are all aging at a fantastic rate, and also (predictably) that they cannot leave. After a few introductory scenes in which people talk about the importance of living in the moment, seizing the day, all that, just in case the plot was a little too subtle too stand alone, we’re off to the exact races I mentioned. Why is this happening? How can it be stopped? And of course: how would you spend your last day on earth? (Although that one maybe is a little subtle and keeps getting lost in the breakneck speed of the plot.)
Shyamalan will never, I think, top his first two movies. But for the first time in a generation, he’s released something [which I’ve seen] that I can recommend without reservation. It’s probably not great, but then again I think he’s only ever had one great movie. But it’s thoughtful, occasionally frightening, and always engaging. …okay, always after a pretty slow introductory act in which basically nothing happens, but which was probably necessary to the plot making a lick of sense, and for that matter, necessary to the themes working. So I’ll allow it.