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The Dr. Charles Scene In Old That Makes No Sense

When watching a film by M. Night Shyamalan, one should always be prepared to leave the theater with many questions — or not entirely understand the point of the film's decisions. 2021's "Old" is no exception.

"Old" is a film adaptation of the graphic novel "Sandcastle," which the movie stays pretty faithful to other than the ending. The story follows the Cappa family as they go on an island vacation. Joined by two other families, the group is given access to a private beach complementary of the resort they are staying at. After discovering another person on the beach as well as a corpse, horror ensues, as the group realizes the beach is causing them to age rapidly — and they cannot leave.

This is, of course, a very watered down version of the plot, but when it comes to a Shyamalan film, there are too many details, twists, and turns to list. Furthermore, "Old" is full of an impending sense of dread, body horror, and some social commentary. All of which makes one scene in "Old" particularly confusing. Here are the details.

Why did no one take the knife from Dr. Charles?

In "Old," time is quite literally working against the characters as most of them will be dead within 24 hours if they cannot find a way off the beach. Luckily for them, they have a doctor with them. Right? Wrong. Normally, having a doctor in the group would be great, but this doctor does more harm than good.

Dr. Charles (Rufus Sewell) suffers from some form of mental illness, presumably schizophrenia based on the delusions he experiences late in the film. He also carries with him some racial bias, as seen when the group discovers rapper Mid-Sized Sedan (Aaron Pierre), a black man, on the beach, and Dr. Charles expresses some racist behavior towards him. This develops further when, after showing signs of his mental illness developing further, Dr. Charles cuts Mid-Sized Sedan with a knife. Thankfully, Mid-Sized Sedan heals instantly due to the time warp of the beach, but here's the big question: Why did no one take the knife from Dr. Charles? The other characters just leave him be with the weapon.

Most people would think to confiscate the knife from the unwell doctor, but these characters do not, which ultimately leads to Dr. Charles murdering Mid-Size Sedan. Now, the reasoning here could possibly be that the film makes a few commentaries on how different people react in these situations, as well as fears over running out of time in our lives. Either way, it's still hard to overlook the choice to let him keep the knife.