What might have just been a straightforward action show is elevated by canny pacing and a strong cast. Bridges is handed the chewiest material (and all the action), but Lithgow and Shawkat are right there with him.
With danger always lurking, Bridges convinces us that underestimating this well-seasoned spy has deadly consequences, while the terrific Brenneman startles us by refusing to play the damsel in distress. [13 Jun - 3 Jul 2022, p.4]
As a thriller, The Old Man doesn’t always deliver. Its internal logic is fitful and its backstory perfunctory. As a showcase for Bridges and John Lithgow, the rare performer nearly able to match his co-star indelible role for indelible role, The Old Man is far more satisfying, though audiences are going to yearn for more direct interaction between the two note-perfect leads and less of the genre filler that extends three of the four episodes sent to critics to over an hour.
The Old Man breaks no rules of the action genre other than a hero of an unlikely age, but plays by them dutifully enough that it’s occasionally gripping, frequently interesting, and never less than watchable.
First two episodes are really great: Impeccable acting -well, John Lithgow and Jeff Bridges- and **** more importantly in this day and age of filler episodes, it is incredibly well edited, paced . The action scenes are even filmed with a astonishing and refreshing poignancy for the peons that are unceremoniously dispatched in other shows.
The only negative would be the quite clichéd female characters, the daughter Emily, who seems the self-centered, neurotic, ungrateful daughter that always hampers the hero and add obstacles to his route in spite of his love for her, the loyal assistant and the divorced MILF who needs a knight in shining armour.
After 3rd episode, it becomes a mediocre run-of-the-mill, filler episodes series, a cheaper, slower and older version of Homeland. As so many similar series. Luring people to care for a show in the first two episodes and pulling the rug underneath their feet afterwards.
Bait and switch.
"Where two are fighting, the third wins": too little the plot twist as epilogue to extricate oneself in about 7 hours of exhaustingly convoluted spy game with no emotional involvement. The already poor result is deteriorated by the extended family melò and a screenplay divided into two timelines, where the discovery of the truth about oneself would depend on the archaeological excavation in one's own and others' past.