Split Movie Review: M. Night Shyamalan’s latest thriller, Split, is a complex story of a man living with 24 distinct personalities, played masterfully by James McAvoy. M. Night returns to write and direct in the genre he’s become synonymous with, and once again delivers an unexpected twist. Not a spoiler since it’s what we’ve come to expect, right?
Split begins with the kidnapping of three teenage girls out in the open, almost immediately at the start of the film. We delve right into their misfortune of having been snatched by a man suffering from Dissociative Identity Disorder, and they begin to encounter each of his inner demons. The only girl that actually matters, Casey, played by Anya Taylor-Joy, is immediately the most adaptive to their dire situation. We are slowly made privy to her past, so we know she’s who ultimately matters and who may make it out of this alive. Since character development mostly focused on McAvoy and Taylor-Joy, whose acting was superb, it led to the feeling that the other two kidnapped girls seemed irrelevant at times.
Most thrillers, which I confess I am too chicken to watch most, run the risk of having a predictable premise and overdone circumstances. Split thoroughly does a good job of maintaining its uniqueness in a genre which is constantly plagued with cheesy cliches. M. Night seemed to be very much aware of when it would be a benefit to use comedy; a film with this premise could run the risk of being stuffy and over acted so it had to not take itself too seriously at times in order to keep the audience engaged. He successfully switched from horror to humor when necessary, and it worked from the audience’s responses I witnessed.
This was an ambitious endeavor for M. Night and McAvoy, to flesh out 24 characters, though most of those personalities rarely made an appearance. At times the film did feel rushed and tried to cover too much ground in a small amount of time. I feel that other things could have been scrapped in order to hone in on the two protagonists’ backgrounds and origins even more. I found myself wanting to have seen more of the characters’ pasts explored. The backgrounds created more discomfort and fear for me, and it was valuable to see how these characters came to end up where they did.
Cinematography, together with editing, were well utilized to create more jarring suspense and discomfort, and to showcase the mental state of the characters. Close-ups helped leave the audience out of the loop at times, cuts to intricate and labyrinth-like staircase shots created trepidation, along with stress from the usual chase scenes. Seems that this will be one of the higher praised films in M. Night’s filmography.
Many people I know are intrigued by this film having seen the preview, and I do believe it will deliver. I have not seen all of M. Night Shyamalan’s films, but I will say this movie ignited my curiosity.
|Director:||M. Night Shyamalan|
|Release Date:||January 20, 2017|
|Author:||Roxy De La Rosa|