As far as M Night Shyamalan movies go this is a vast improvement but it is still far from a great film. Split is a psychological thriller starring James McAvoy as Kevin, a man who suffers from Dissociative Identity Disorder where 23 personalities exist inside of him. Some of them are good and some of them are bad and he works with a therapist to keep the balance. When one of the personalities kidnaps three girls for a mysterious reason, these girls must try and work against time and the personalities before things can go from bad to worse.
This movie would not be anywhere near as good without James McAvoy as Kevin, Denis, Patricia, Barry, Hedwig, Orwell, Jade and all the personalities. There are moments in the film that see McAvoy change from one Identity to another making it seem like a new character has appeared. James McAvoy crushes this role so well he should be up for best actor, though he is ineligible for the coming Oscars. He is brilliant in all of his portrayals of the identities, which can be menacing and terrifying as well as humorous in this convincing performance. That being said, though his performance elevates the movie it does not save the movie.
The movie split has an interesting concept, the ideas are there but in practice it falls by the way side. The idea that this individual has several personalities that he is not in control of and some of them can be dangerous sounds like a great psychological thriller. The plot builds to a certain point where the audience will be wondering what will happen next, and the way that question is answered feels all too ridiculous. It had the potential to head in a really grounded and terrifying direction but went the bizarre route instead, not making a whole lot of sense.
One thing this movie falls into is using played out Hollywood tropes often seen in horror films, where characters act calm in frightening scenarios, go into dangerous places without a phone or telling anyone or attempt unplanned escapes. These worked in the 80’s and 90’s but now they just feel dumb. The fact that one character makes the decision to go a dangerous location without talking to anyone or taking a phone is just typical idiocy things people do in movies.
Saying this movie is Shyamalan’s best movie in a long time is a pointless statement. If you look at his previous movies on Rotten Tomatoes or Metacritic he hasn’t been thought of highly since the early 2000s. This movie is only good because of James McAvoy and it is due to his performance that this movie gets a positive comments from me. People are talking about his performance over this being a good Shyamalan movie and it’s true. If you are a fan of Shyamalan you may enjoy this movie more than I did but there are more negatives than positives in my opinion.
Split scores a 45%
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