Published on January 20th, 2017 | by Sasha Glenn0
M. Night Shyamalan once again has audiences very excited for absolutely no reason. The trailer portrays an interesting psychological thriller of a man (James McAvoy) subjected to many different forms of consciousness, as the plot tells he is one of the first to openly portray over twenty different personalities.
He even takes on different physical characteristics down to a metabolic level as he switches from persona to persona. This combined with the character of a doctor (Betty Buckley) who is thrilled to perhaps have discovered the missing link to understanding the unused portion of the human mind, sounds like it makes for a great sci-fi thriller.
Unfortunately rather quickly the plot devolves after the disturbed man’s abduction of three teenage girls turns over the top hokey and stereotypical. Nothing can be said that will make up for the impending disappointment of viewers as yet again Mr. Shyamalan has an idea that sounds quite intriguing, yet falls completely flat and leaves viewers feeling as if they are the brunt of the joke.
As the psychotic killer develops into a character audiences could really be scared of, a turn for the worst happens when he is transformed by his own mind into an animal. Reaching beyond anything physically possible in a much staged way, he becomes a superhuman creature who rampages until he is caught.
Even with skilled acting at his disposal Shyamalan has managed to make another very poor quality film. At each step of the way, the suspense almost grabs you but is completely predictable. It’s too bad but this one earns
1 star out of 5
Second Review by
M. Night Shyamalan’s latest movie, Split, about a man with Dissociative Identity Disorder(DID) the psychological diagnosis where trauma can cause a person’s identity to split into distinct personalities or “Alters”. Kevin (James McAvoy) has manifested 23 distinct personalities. He physically changes as each Alter manifests.
We meet Dennis, who has abducted three girls as they were leaving a birthday party; Patricia, the matron; Hedwig the nine year old child, and Barry, the extroverted designer. We don’t get to know all of the personalities that inhabit Kevin, but we do meet some additional Alters ( Orwell and Jade). Through Dennis, Patricia and Hedwig, we learn that the girls were taken as offerings to The Beast, the 24th alter.
Dr. Fletcher (Betty Buckley) is Kevin’s psychiatrist who has documented each of the Alters. She believes that The Beast is not a true alter, but an imaginary creation. Dr. Fletcher has been seeing Kevin for a while and is familiar with the personalities. She specializes in the treatment of DID and is fascinated by the sheer number of his Alters. She is confident in her abilities and she is quite concerned about Kevin and how he is progressing in development.
Casey (Anya Taylor-Joy) one of the girls taken, we learn is a little different. We see through dream flashbacks how her childhood had formed who she is. We learn that she is observant, clever and has the ability to manipulate. Anya Taylor-Joy is exceptional at carrying Casey’s emotions through her eyes. As we learn what happened to her, we understand why she behaves that way.
The film seems formulaic at times, but has wonderfully emotive moments of brilliance by McAvoy, Buckley and Taylor-Joy. McAvoy brings each Alter to the forefront with such distinction and at points humor albeit dark. Buckley plays Dr. Fletcher as a very complex, lone woman that sees her patients as if they were her own children. Taylor-Joy provides deeper insight to the not so average teen.
I would have like to have seen more depth to Kevin’s story. It would seem that the editing has stunted parts of the film where we would have had a fuller picture, such as the events that initiated the formulation of Kevin’s Alters or a clearer definition of how Casey’s childhood shifted. I was wondering that while I was watching, waiting for some sort of resolution on those points. This film is left rather open ended. We are left hanging, as if there is more. We will have to wait and see if there is a sequel.
I would place this in the “Worth Seeing” column.
3 out of 5 Stars