Old ★★★★

Speaking of aging, look at the ageless face of M. Night. No wonder he always wants to insert himself into frame. He hasn't aged a day. More like M. Right, because he's doing something right to look under 40 when he's actually 50, on the dot, for this film. He's the same age as Paul Thomas Anderson, two 50-pieces who have been around seemingly forever and yet, in filmmaker terms, they are still remarkably young. And Old has a young man's bite to it. It's mean but also delicate too. This is a hard balance to pull off, and while the film is silly at times, I think it strikes that balance with razor dexterity.

Talk about inspired casting, too. Everyone is striking the same tone, meaning they all know they are in the same movie, which is crucial for a film like this where completely random strangers are forced to reckon with a high concept mystery together. I had waited long enough for someone to give Vicky Krieps a big role again, and she's great. Rufus Sewell, just out of nowhere, is also very inspired casting. There is a moment in the trailers where you see him looking extremely aged, but it's in the dark and hard to tell who it is, and I went into the movie thinking he would age into Udo Kier, which would have been neat, but I was okay with that wish not being fulfilled.

We need to champion weird films like this in an evolving (or devolving) landscape of projects with the edges sanded away. All the sharp splinters being focus grouped away into a voiceless blob of auto-directed studio cinema. I love M. Night, the man, and the passion he has, even when it's centered on stuff that falls flat, like Lady in the Water or The Last Airbender. Say what you will about the tenets of M. Night's filmography, at least there's an ethos.

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