by Nile Fortner
So a couple of days ago I decided to check out the movie Split. Split is directed by M. Night Shyamalan (The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable) and the movie is about a man named Kevin Crumb, played by James McAvoy (Filth, X-Men: Apocalypse) who has revealed 23 completely different personalities to his psychiatrist, Dr. Fletcher, played by Betty Buckley (The Happening). Out of all the 23 different personalities that are within Kevin, one has not emerged. One that is set to dominate all the other personalities, one that Kevin calls…The Beast! One of Kevin’s personalities decides to abduct three teenage girls; one of those girls, Casey, played by Anya Taylor – Joy (The Witch, Morgan) tries to relate to Kevin’s split personalities. Kevin eventually reaches a breaking point, and all of his personalities begin to slowly unleash the beast within him.
Now when it comes to M. Night Shyamalan he has always been known for his big twist at the end of his films. Lately, the twist has been people saying, “I don’t care to see one of his films!” Literally, I came across a man at the movies when I went to see his last film, The Visit, and the man said, “They should have paid everyone here to see this!”At one point in his career, people absolutely loved this guy. They even called him the next Spielberg. In my opinion, The Sixth Sense, Signs, Unbreakable are all very well done films. Some of his later films like The Village, The Happening, The Last Airbender, and After Earth were not well received and many people thought his time was over. So, what does Mr. Shyamalan do? Well I’ll tell you what he did. He took some time, went back to his filmmaking roots, worked with a smaller budget, and did a little found footage movie called The Visit. Even though The Visit was no Unbreakable, some people did like it, some did not, but I don’t think people hated it like some of his last movies. Some critics even said that M. Night Shyamalan is back! I did enjoy that movie, but I wouldn’t say it’s a huge comeback for the director. On the other hand, Mr. Shyamalan’s latest film Split is a movie that I can proudly call a comeback for the director. Split has tension, story, and has a twist ending I did not seeing coming at all!
He’s Coming For You
So the prime plot of the film is, Kevin has so many personalities and each passing day he has more and more trouble controlling his personalities. He abducts three teenage girls, and these teenage girls have no idea where they are. They wake up in a large dark basement, they are freaking the hell out, they don’t know why they are there, and they are thinking well damn today I might actually die. These girls are introduced to Kevin’s personalities. Not all 23, because that would be too long of a film. However, we do get to meet some very interesting split personalities/identity disorders. When these girls first come across Kevin, they think he is just a crazy man. Five minutes later Kevin comes back, only this time he is wearing a dress, wearing high heel shoes, and speaking in womanly voice. I love the expression the girls had on their face when they first see this. The look of, “Did this man seriously kidnap us to show us his acting abilities? Are we at a dinner theater? Is this what they call improv?” Not exactly, each personality has some plan for these girls. Some dangerous, some not so bad, but all very creepy.
I don’t know if this makes much sense, but the real stars of the movie are Kevin’s identity disorders/split personalities. You can actually feel James McAvoy having fun with all these characters on screen. This is the role of a lifetime for any actor that wants to show his or her acting strengths and range. Some of his personalities are really intimidating, and others not so much. For instance, we are introduced to a Barry. Barry is one of the 23 split personalities Kevin suffers with, and Barry is a fashion designer. Even though Barry comes off easy going at first, when his psychiatrist Dr. Fletcher has a long conversation with him, Barry slowly becomes unstable and has that awkward crazy stare. So in a way he has personality disorders within his personality disorders.
“My name is Hedwig. I have red socks.”
I know this film seems like it has many characters to balance out and sit through. However, we truly do feel a somewhat connection to these characters. Now a majority of people felt something for Hedwig. Hedwig is another personality we are introduced to. Hedwig is a nine year-old mentally challenged boy. Hedwig and Casey form a bond with each other. I thought it was funny and sweet when Hedwig asked to kiss Casey, and Hedwig said, “You might be pregnant now.” Hedwig is supposed to be the one character that makes us feel sympathetic for Kevin. But honestly, Mr. McAvoy did such a great job of making all these personality traits feel crazy, it was hard for me to feel that emotional attachment to Hedwig. Really, most people in the theater seemed to love him, but I was sitting there saying to myself, “I don’t care if your name is Hedwig, you have red socks, you have a collection of Kanye West albums, you like to dance, and you want to kiss me. At the end of the day, you kidnapped me; you’re crazy as all hell, so screw you!” Maybe that’s just me though.
Accordingly, Anya Taylor – Joy is easily starting to become one of my new favorite actresses. She has been doing very well, especially in the horror/thriller genre. I would like to see her become a future scream queen in this genre of film. I liked her in The Witch and Morgan, and I liked her character in this film as well. She has a backstory and flashbacks of her father, uncle, and hunting trips that connects to the audience emotionally, and adds to the story. It’s her back story that leads her forming a relationship with Kevin.
My only problems with the film are some scenes do drag just a little bit and at times it is the typical fight for survival formula.
Earlier I mentioned how Kevin has another split personality that will dominate all called the beast. Another problem I had is when Kevin unleashes the beast it does feel a little comic book-ish and cartoonish.
So these are my Final Bitchin’ Buddha thoughts on Split. I think this is movie filled with great tension, performances, and a beautiful welcome back for Mr. Shyamalan. Trust me the twist ending was really good! The audience members at the movie theater were all going bonkers, buck wild, and gaga. No one saw the twist coming. If I were you I would avoid spoilers, because it makes the ending that much better. I won’t spoil the ending for you, I’ll just say watch one of Mr. Shyamalan’s previous films. Is this his best film? In my opinion no, but it has be intrigued to see his next project. I believe Split earns a…
3.5 out of 5 Hairpieces!
I thought it would have been cool if one of Kevin’s personality disorders rolled out in a wheelchair, bald, and he told Casey “We must stop Magneto and the rest of the brotherhood!” Just kidding, that’s an X-Men joke, I know that was lame and I failed you all. But the movie Split will not fail you! Thank you all so much for reading and or viewing, and I hope you all have an amazing day as always. 🙂