‘Split’ is M. Night Shyamalan’s most recent film that features James McAvoy as a man with dissociative identity disorder who kidnaps three girls for undisclosed purposes. Also starring Anja Taylor-Joy and Betty Buckley, the film embarks on a story which shows a small group of Kevin’s personalities known as ‘The Horde’ work towards unleashing a 24th diabolic personality on the world.
Overall Split Review
In general, Split was extremely good. Throughout most the film the tension was high with plenty of intrigue and unpredictability written into the storyline. I was expecting a film purely based on the premise of abduction, yet the film took a slightly alternative supernatural edge which, for me, was entirely welcome. You certainly couldn’t knock the performances from main cast members, although you could say that Anja Taylor-Joy hugely overshadowed the weaker performances from the other two girls. I think Split is a fast-paced thriller with plenty of fantastic content and edge-of-the-seat scenes.
McAvoy Steals The Show
James McAvoy was extremely good in his role of Kevin, where he had to take up numerous roles of Kevin’s split personality. He clearly threw himself into all the characters psyches, as he had all the mannerisms and facial expressions for each personality nailed. Yet with all the characters such as Dennis, Patricia and Hedwig being extremely different, McAvoy still managed to maintain a sinister edge to all of his roles.
I spent most of the film in awe of how he could make every personality distinct from one another. Even in the moments where we were invited to laugh at loud at McAvoy being a bumbling 9-year old boy, there was still an air of unpredictability about his character that kept you thrilled and on your toes. If anything, James McAvoy carried the film, scenes without him felt empty in comparison, and his character versatility is certainly second-to-none.
Is Shyamalan ‘Back’?
Admittedly I’m not a massive Shyamalan aficionado so I’m in no position to say if he’s ‘back on his game’ or not. Up until maybe the last half hour I was pretty sold on the story and was loving every minute. However, the standard M. Night Shyamalan plot twist didn’t do the rest of the film justice for me. I think all the plotlines and ideas which were laid out in the film had the potential to be awesome, although when it came to the conclusion, it felt as though the film was stumped about how to conclude properly.
A Disappointing Ending?
I’m going to briefly mention the ending, so if you don’t want any spoilers it’s probably best to turn away now!
Sadly, the ending was entirely lost on me. If you don’t know already, the ending of Split confirmed that it was based in the same cinematic universe as Unbreakable, M. Night Shyamalan’s thriller starring Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson. This is a universe of extraordinary humans who could probably be classed as superheroes. The release of ‘The Beast’ as Kevin’s 24th personality heralds the arrival of a new supervillain which Bruce Willis could possibly take on in an Unbreakable 2 film sequel.
The sole reason why this was a disappointment to me is that I haven’t see Unbreakable in such a long time there was no chance I was going to link Split with the original film. I kind of twigged it when Bruce Willis appeared sipping coffee in a diner at the end, but apart from that everything I’m now writing about comes from Google, which is extremely disappointing. I would have much rather the film continued on the trajectory it started, but linking it to a previous Shyamalan film seemed to really take the wind out the film’s sails.
I think it was really disappointing to have a concluding half hour of shrugging shoulders and feeling lost after such an enjoyable start to the film. I do feel kind of bitter and jealous that I didn’t understand the ending more. In all honesty, I don’t know how much linking to Unbreakable would have improved the ending for me. Although that could be me still feeling bitter. I think when Split is finally out the cinema, I need to rewatch Unbreakable and then maybe Split will seem a bit better the second time round.
What did you think of Split? Is this Shyamalan’s best film to date? How well did you cope with the ending? Let me know in the comments below!
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