'Old' Plot: Which Movie Stars Jack Nicholson and Marlon Brando?

It seems a strange plot device to have one person considering a film title during a movie where he is trapped on a beach that is aging him to death. However, in Old it is an important question as it helps the audience understand his state of mind in this difficult moment.

Charles (played by Rufus Sewell) is a doctor who tries desperately to keep his cards close to his chest, not revealing why he might be on the deathly beach.

This question ultimately becomes a gateway into working out why he might be there, as more frightening revelations come to the fore.

Ahead are spoilers for M Night Shyamalan's latest movie Old, and the film that is mentioned numerous times.

Why Did Charles Ask About A Movie In Old?

Rufus Sewell in Old
Rufus Sewell in 'Old'. He plays Charles, a doctor with schizophrenia. Universal

In Old, a hotel targets people who are suffering from various illnesses to come and stay in their resort.

Unbeknownst to those who are invited to the resort, they are actually there to be experimented on and find new medications for their ailments.

They are taken to a private beach, on which they discover they are aging rapidly, to the point where their illnesses become suddenly worse.

For Prisca (Vicky Krieps) her stomach tumor grows from a golf ball to the size of a cantaloupe within minutes, and Brendan (Aaron Pierre), who suffers from hemophilia, begins bleeding profusely from his nose.

Charles, the doctor of the group, is reluctant to share what his illness is, and when his wife begins trying to speak about how they ended up at the resort, he silences her quickly.

It transpires that he is suffering from a mental illness such as schizophrenia, which meant he was forced to step back from his role as the chief medical officer of a hospital.

At one point in the film, he begins asking those around him whether they can help him name a movie that starred Jack Nicholson and Marlon Brando, in the middle of an important surgery.

He is helping to remove the tumor from Prisca's stomach, as it is growing rapidly, but keeps pausing to ask the question while a knife is plunged into her stomach.

Charles continues to ask this question regularly, throughout the film, between his intermittent violent outbursts that see him mistake people for those who may wish to have him struck off from the medical profession.

As a result, asking about the film is an example of his deteriorating mental state, as his mental health issues are exacerbated and accelerated through time on the beach.

While he struggles throughout the movie and is often seen standing alone speaking to himself, no one pays him much notice, until he becomes violent and unmanageable.

He is seen talking to his dead mother at one point, speaking of how his job overwhelmed him and he became overtired, suggesting he may have experienced a breakdown.

Eventually, he kills Brendan after mistaking him for someone who robbed his home, and later attacks Prisca and Guy (Gael Garcia Bernal) believing he will try and take his job from him.

Prisca is forced to use a rusty knife to cut him, meaning he gets blood poisoning and dies very quickly.

What Is The Movie With Jack Nicholson and Marlon Brando?

Alex Wolff and Gael Garcia Bernal
Vicky Krieps and Gael Garcia Bernal
The cast of Old
Nolan River in Old
Nikki Amuka-Bird and Ken Leung in Old
Production stills from Old

Brando and Nicholson appeared together in one film: The Missouri Breaks.

The movie is a 1976 Western about a rustler (Nicholson) who falls on hard times due to a land baron making his job difficult.

The baron brings in a regulator (Brando) to hunt down the rustling gang and get rid of them from his land.

Nicholson called the film "the toughest experience I ever had with Brando" in a tribute to his colleague in Rolling Stone magazine.

There isn't a clear link to the film and Old, and Shyamalan has not revealed why this movie was picked as the one Charles was struggling to place.