Hungry Hungry Kiddos

For 90-minutes, Old is a beautiful, genuine metaphor for life and how little time we have. The events experienced happen so rapidly on a mysterious beach that rapidly ages the inhabitants, there’s no long standing angst. A couple enduring a divorce forget what they were arguing about mere hours later, which on this timeline, represents years passed.

There’s a truthful attempt to put life’s events in a grander perspective through Old. Two of the kids, rapidly aged into teens, have sex. The girl becomes pregnant, makes her parents erupt in anger, but instead of nine months, it’s mere minutes until she gives birth. With that pace goes the anger and judgment. Old discards those little moments to explore people,their loves, emotions, and what truly matters, this while simultaneously telling a thriller about vacationers trying to escape their supernatural confines. It’s compelling, smart, and thematically bold.

Old is a rare case where ambiguity could strengthen the material

… and then in less than five minutes, it’s ruined.

Old’s pure M. Night Shymalan twist dips into nonsense conspiracy theories, not in attempt to explain the aging phenomenon, but rather a measure to exploit it. Not only does this cheapen the previous 90-minutes, this becomes a bizarre spin on Cabin in the Woods. It’s a contemptible finish, desperate to offer fantastical, commercial grounding to what’s a studio-produced art piece.

Shymalan’s films often become trapped by their reveals. Needed or not, it’s a signature for him, and too often, it’s killing his work. Old is beyond a victim to his curse. This is a tragedy, where if the final 10 or so minutes were lopped off cold, it’s a chilling, contemplative masterpiece. A need to over-explain is crushing, and Old is a rare case where ambiguity could strengthen the material. It never matters WHY these people age or for what purpose, only that their perception on life is forcibly altered.

So much of Old is shot flawlessly. Shymalan frequently apes Hitchcock’s suspense for visual glamour. That style makes the brief flourishes of horror near the end grueling to witness – raw ugliness amid raw beauty. It’s a jarring, hellish transition, and for nothing.

Video

A crystal-sharp 4K source reveals its awesomeness early. The island setting provides endless texture, from trees to grains of sand. Skin is endlessly defined. Medium shots or close-ups doesn’t matter; they all look incredible. Gorgeous ocean vistas resolve even minuscule waves.

Graded with an intense warmth, flesh tones appear heavily bronzed. Everything does, actually, but that’s to little detriment. Primaries glow, including on clothes, trees, and water. Old doesn’t reserve the color, but pushes ahead minus subtlety. Dolby Vision only brings this out further.

Firm black levels make up for a slight loss in the contrast (it’s the warmth giving highlights an off-white look). Still, it’s bold, firing up dimensionality in every scene. Depth remains potent and consistent, maybe not a demo disc, but enough to make a strong case for UHD in general. The final act becomes almost totally blacked out in spots, so dim that a TV might not to pick up the motion and engage a screen saver at times. However, the black levels hold, and do so well.

Audio

All about atmosphere, the Atmos mix creates instant immersion in the location. Waves become a constant presence, splashing through the rears. In thicker jungle, animal calls rise to height channels in a natural way. There’s always small motion to detect, or just general sound beaming in from multiple directions. Voices flawlessly pan as the camera swings around, a great touch.

Bass is less of a factor, if still notable when the score needs a decent shock. Inside a cave, an ominous noise brings a substantial rattle when characters encounter… something left unsaid.

Extras

Ten deleted scenes open things up, with an eight minute feature explains Shymalan’s creative process on Old. The location shoot is explored over nine minutes. At seven minutes, the lore and story progression is followed along with crew. Finally, over six-minutes, the main family’s drama comes into focus. All of the bonuses are glossy and well produced, if a little anemic, but all contained on the UHD.

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

Old
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2

Movie

Old is a beautiful rumination on life, aging, and time – until the final 10-minutes unravels every bit of that genuine goodwill.

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The following six screen shots serve as samples for our subscription-exclusive set of 45 full resolution uncompressed 4K screen shots grabbed directly from the UHD: