MOVIE REVIEWS FROM A MOVIE ADDICT
I love M. Night Shyamalan’s movies. Since the release of The Sixth Sense in 1999, Manoj has created some sensational movies, each with that unmistakable M. Night Shyamalan signature feel. As any M. Night Shyamalan fan knows, he writes all of the movies he makes, and is also generally the director and producer, with only a few exceptions. And, like Stan Lee’s cameos in Marvel movies, you’ll also see Shyamalan appear briefly in most of the movies he makes, acting as a character in the story, not as himself.
Returning to the same alluring, edge of your seat suspense recipe that was used in The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable and Signs, Shyamalan has created a thriller that delves into the complicated and fractured mind of Kevin (James McAvoy – X-Men: Apocalypse, Trance, Atonement), a man with 23 recognised alternate personalities.
After a birthday party, three teenagers are kidnapped by Kevin and imprisoned in a room with no windows. As Kevin’s insidious plan unfolds, his petrified and confused prisoners are gradually introduced to some of Kevin’s personalities, as he taunts and interacts with them. The girls quickly learn that in order to escape, they must convince one of Kevin’s identities to help, before his 24th, ‘THE BEAST’, comes to get them.
SPLIT touches on a contentious concept that has cropped up in several movies: If we could potentially use more of our brain capacity, what would a human being be capable of? As Kevin’s psychiatrist, Dr. Fletcher (Betty Buckley – The Happening, Frantic, Carrie) states during the movie, “the human brain is the most complex object in the universe”. If we could understand the parts of the brain that are still such a mystery to us, is it possible that we could achieve the extraordinary? The X-Men franchise shows us what mutants are capable of, and Scarlett Johansson in Lucy (2014), shows us what the brain can achieve under the influence of drugs. What if those with dissociative identity disorder are actually one step closer to the next stage in the evolution of human beings.
If you have read any of my reviews, you will know that I never reveal how a movie ends. In this case, it is difficult for me to say too much regarding my reaction to the story of SPLIT, without giving away the ending (you’ll know what I mean when you see it). All that I can say is that I liked it, and I want to see it a few more times. However, unlike my favourite M. Night Shyamalan movies (The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable and Signs), there were moments where I lost interest in the movie, but my captivation quickly recovered. But, like eating a good steak dinner, accompanied by a couple of pints of Guinness, I was very satisfied after watching SPLIT. It certainly sparked off a passionate discussion about M. Night Shyamalan’s movies during the drive home.
In only her sixth movie, 20-year-old, Anya Taylor-Joy (The Witch, Morgan, Barry), is fantastic in the role as the more dominant of the three captured girls, Casey Cook. Look out for her at the Sundance Film Festival on January 21. She stars in Cory Finley’s new movie, and directorial debut, THOROUGHBRED.
James McAvoy is excellent as always. The 2017 Academy Award nominations are announced next week (January 24). I wonder if he’ll get a look-in.
If you like SPLIT, you might also like: The Sixth Sense (1999), Unbreakable (2000), The Others (2001), Signs (2002), The Happening (2008), The Visit (2015).
The Movie Lad rates this: Eighteen out of a possible Twenty Four alternate personalities.
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