Split (2016) Review
Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Cast: James McAvoy, Anya Taylor-Joy, Haley Lu Richardson, Jessica Sulu, Betty Buckley
Plot: Three girls, are attacked, and kidnapped by a man, that to their mortal peril, is diagnosed 23 distinct personalities. They must try to escape before a terrifying, new, 24th personality referred to as ‘The Beast’, is unleashed.
Split, written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan, is the second time he has worked with producer Jason Blum of Blumhouse productions. Its safe to say that once again the pairing has worked brilliantly, and created another Thriller/Horror masterpiece. Not only is the script and dialogue just exceptional but the acting performance of James McAvoy is pretty much perfect. It’s beyond anything I’ve ever witnessed, from any actor, ever.
His character has 23 personalities that are all completely different to one another and are all as intense, and in their own sense, terrifying in so many different ways. His personalities, in his head, are laid out to us, like 23 people sitting in a support group meeting, and each of them are fighting inside him, to stand in the light. There are a four of them, that are most prominent through the film.
(Hedwig, Aged 9 – Pictured Left)
(Fashion Designer, – Barry Pictured Right)
The first two have an element of innocence to them. These being 9 year old boy with a lisp called Hedwig, and a fashion designer called Barry.
The next two are the most dangerous of the 23…
(Ultra Aggressive Dennis – Pictured Left)
(Dark, Moody, Violent Miss Patricia – Pictured Right)
They are firstly a man called Dennis. He has the worst possible case of OCD, and is ultra aggressive, and impulsive in his nature. The other is a woman called Miss Patricia who is very unpredictable, extremely firm, and violent at the drop of a hat.
When he appears as Hedwig, he says that Dennis and Miss Patricia keep telling him that the beast is on the move and he is coming to get them. The three girls should be scared because he’s going to come and do horrible things. We also hear Hedwig say that the beast is going to come and protect them, and make them safe. These sentences are very cryptic in their nature but all add up, to one hell of a showdown. Upon meeting the beast, its safe to say, that Hedwig, was absolutely correct, and the three girls, find themselves in a fight for their lives.
The three girls that are captured are also brilliant. Two of the girls are spoiled rich girls and the other is a quiet, reserved girl who keeps very much to herself. The contrast of character traits works really well. The quiet girl is called Casey and is portrayed by Anna Taylor-Joy. Her character, is like a big ball of elastic bands, you can unravel it all you like but you never seem to be able to reach the middle. Throughout the film, we get flashbacks of her as a young girl, and get a real insight into her abusive past. Her character development, like everything in this film, is brilliant.
There are so many moments of that Shyamalan magic, that only he does so well. What I mean by that is that he doesn’t just jump from A to B. He tells a story and seems to be able to fit it into a feature length film instead of what most could only do, for example, in a 6 part mini series.. And still none of it feels crammed in or rushed. It all fits and its all relevant.
There are so many little things that happen that at first appear insignificant, but then come full circle, and leave you in awe. It’s very cleverly put together. There are scenes with the character Barry, when he goes to see his psychiatrist, that deserve the upmost attention in seeing the magic at work.
The last film M.Night Shyamalan did, called ‘The Visit’, is slow paced and full of building tension akin to a John Carpenter film. Split is the complete polar opposite. It is faced paced and there is always something happening. The tension you would expect is still there, but delivered in a different way. Instead, its more waiting in anticipation of what is going to happen next in this Roller coaster of a film. You’ll experience a range of emotions watching this film. For me, mainly, it was fear, as to what this guy is going to do next, and fear for what the three poor girls are going to be exposed to and how they are going to overpower this person(s).