Sing it with me, “This old man, he played nine. He played knick knack on his…” Sorry. I’m stalling because this is one of those films about which it’s just damned difficult to find anything to say. The story is extraordinarily simple: A drifter (Alamerz) wanders through the woods. Eventually, he comes across the Old Man (Mario Lucente) who follows him around everywhere. But this guy’s old. Withered, crusty and desiccated, he resembles a walking mummy more than a living human being. At first, the drifter seems bothered by his newfound companion…that is, until the old man strikes out on his own. Suddenly lonely, the drifter sets off in pursuit, following his mysterious companion to town and down into a basement apartment where…well, let’s just say that living mummy reference is a nice bit of foreshadowing.
It’s obvious fairly early on that Francesco Lucente’s captivating little film is building to a single dramatic revelation. Fortunately, the film is intriguing enough to hold a viewer’s interest even given — or possibly because of — its lack of dialogue. Unfortunately, it overplays its hand a bit in the finale, unnecessarily muddying up the waters with a sort of “Is it a ghost story or was it a dream?” coda. Still, up until that point, “This Old Man” played fine.