BY GUS YEAGER
M. Night Shyamalan has had one of the most turbulent careers in Hollywood, with a filmography ranging from early successes such as the critically acclaimed The Sixth Sense to the more recent and universally reviled live-action The Last Airbender (considered by some to be one of the worst films of all time). Divisive a filmmaker as he is, there was quite a bit of buzz around the arrival of his newest work, Old, adapted from the graphic novel Sandcastle. While it may not necessarily represent a full return to form for Shyamalan, it appears to be a step in the right direction.
The opening act is hindered significantly by how choppy it feels. Nearly all of the character development and exposition is delivered much too forcefully, lacking any sort of tact or nuance. It even gets to the unfortunate point where some of the decisions and beats appear to be downright nonsensical.
Despite the shortcomings in the first hour, the film manages to become vastly more entertaining in its second half. It makes the wise decision to really explore its deeper themes, which allows the paranoia and raw emotion that come with the brilliant premise to set in and take hold. The atmospheric details also begin to work with spectacular effect. It even is able to shine light on the fantastic performances from Alex Wolff and Thomasin McKenzie.
It should be noted that a classic Shyamalan twist is present. Unfortunately, you can see it coming from a mile off. The commentary it makes is fairly intriguing however. Old is nothing particularly outstanding, but it is far from terrible. The first half may be a slog, but the latter portion is well worth the wait.