Directed by M. Night Shyamalan who is best known for 1999’s The Sixth Sense, Split is a surprisingly good movie for Shyamalan who unfortunately has had a string of below-average films since his sterling debut. What makes the film really shine is the brilliant acting performance from James McAvoy who convincingly depicts the myriad personalities of the character Kevin who suffers from dissociative identity disorder. It starts out with the kidnapping of three high school girls who are locked away in a cellar-like room by Kevin who has a total of 23 different personalities. Some personalities are compassionate and innocent like Barry who tries to control the other personalities and Hedwig who is a 9 year old boy. However, some of his other personalities are malevolent and downright creepy like Dennis who came up with the idea of kidnapping the girls and Patricia who is a mysteriously conniving woman. Throughout the film, Kevin through the personality of Barry tries to get help from his longtime psychiatrist Dr. Fletcher who attempts to calm his dangerous and neurotic sides. Her theory that those with dissociative identity disorder can literally transform their bodies physically is horrifyingly proven true towards the end as Kevin takes on a 24th personality, the supernaturally strong Beast. The filmmaker effectively uses mystery and terror to create a suspenseful yet entertaining experience with disturbing and violent results. Since most of the action is rather slow paced and simply makes the audience question which personality will show up, the movie is not your typical slasher horror film filled with over-the-top blood and gore. What also surprised me was that, unlike a majority of Shyamalan’s works, the ending was rather predictable for a filmmaker known for his trademark surprise twists. Overall, I found it to be an enjoyably thrilling film that finally provides a glimmer of M. Night Shyamalan’s past original glory and would have flopped without James McAvoy’s impressive ability to play so many roles in one character.
Have you seen “The Salesman” yet? I’d love to discuss it with you.
Yes, I have seen it and I thought it was a great movie. I will be posting my review of it very soon.