The and McAvoy nails it in the movie.
The film Split is a thriller from M. Night Shyamalan starring James McAvoy and Anna Taylor-Joy. As there were high hopes for the movie, the trailer promised a creepy intense motion picture, but in the end left the audience split. Although the film may be an overall bust, McAvoy’s phenomenal acting was the one aspect of the film that corrected the movie’s faltering plot, in which the storyline appeared to fall off course. Back in the 1990s, Shyamalan took the world by storm with the movie The Sixth Sense, where he used subtle plot hints and twists to surprise and delight audiences and create a cult favourite. Unfortunately, his films following The Sixth Sense did not live up to the audience’s expectations of a shocking ‘Shyamalan twist’, and thus his movies appeared to be getting progressively worse. By the time Mark Wahlberg was being chased by the wind in The Happening or Noah Ringer was the world’s last hope against the Fire Nation in The Last Airbender, it was believed that the Shyamalan we knew from The Sixth Sense was long gone. However, he re-emerged a few years later with the film The Visit, a film with a lower budget and simpler concept; this seemed to work to his advantage. Although the movie was not rated well, The Visit still showed signs of significant improvement with numerous genuinely frightful moments occurring throughout the movie. This positive momentum continued as he produced yet another movie, Split. The main reason the film Split is considered a ‘must watch’ is because of the actor, James McAvoy. He is simply incredible to watch as he embodies multiple personalities with ease and creates distinct characters for each of them; whenever McAvoy is on screen, one cannot help but be mesmerized by the intricacies he gives these personalities. One can only imagine how much fun a character like this would be for an actor to tackle and McAvoy nails it in the movie. Now, it may be believed that, based on the trailers, the movie takes place entirely in a bunker with the three girls trying to escape, similar to an intense one location style fight for survival. However, this is not the case despite that, it is an important element to the movie, as there is a large section of the plot that is not even glimpsed in the trailer. Throughout the movie, the action leaves the bunkers as McAvoy, who will be now be referred to as Kevin, interacts with a psychologist, Dr. Fletcher. It is via Dr. Fletcher that Shyamalan explores the real meat of what he is getting at in the movie: Kevin suffers from a disorder called Dissociative Identity Disorder (D.I.D.). This disorder is a condition where a person (in this case, Kevin) has several personalities living within one body. Although these scenes are all generally pretty dry and full of very research-sounding dialogue, while slowing the movie down and taking away from the girls’ plight, they are the weapon that Shyamalan uses to portray the actual concepts that he wants to be explored. While this concept has been tackled in many movies over the years, Split adds an interesting new layer: Kevin not only has several personalities, each of which are drastically different, but his character shows it to be possible for each personality to be physically different than one another. For instance, we see this with Kevin’s diabetes, as when he is this person he requires insulin, but when any other, personality, he does not. Thus, it is clear that there is somehow a physical difference within Kevin, created by his D.I.D. Dr. Fletcher, who treats Kevin, believes that humans can create physical changes within themselves depending on their psychological state, however, she stands alone as, at this point, the psychology community does not believe her. Although this may sound fictitious, it is actually true in the field of psychology, with mounting evidence showing this occurs in real people. A question is therefore raised: “How is this possible?”, and it is in this question that we see the basis for the film. There is a reason that this is not seen in the trailer at all. The selling point of the film is more focused on Kevin taking the girls as opposed to the psychological concepts. Because of the misguiding trailer, the side of the story with the girls is weaker because it is not given as much development as it possibly could be. The girls are taken prisoner by Kevin in an intense scene at the beginning of the movie, but, it soon becomes clear that he has no intention to kill them. As a result of this, the tension in the scenes to follow are somewhat deflated. Despite this, Shyamalan develops each of Kevin’s personalities and how the separate characters interact with the girls very well. However, by the time the child personality, Hedwig, is introduced, the film goes off the rails as it transforms into somewhat of a wacky sitcom starring Kevin as every member of a family. This is further exacerbated by the fact that the girls are not given much to work with. They are pretty simplified characters, and while Anna Taylor-Joy’s character Casey does stand out, the other two girls are simply poor actors. It is at this point that it becomes more difficult to keep the reality of the movie alive because of the various actors’ subpar performances. Furthermore, the movie attempted to make Taylor-Joy’s character have more depth through some unnecessary flashbacks, however, these are extremely dark and considered to be way too ‘on-the-nose’. Although her past does have an impact on the ending, it feels like the same idea could have been introduced in a much more efficient way.So the ending – does it have another of ‘Shyamalan twists’? Naturally it does, but the main ending of the story does not seem to make sense with everything that came before it. In addition to the twist, the final scene is considered to be ridiculous: by connecting the ending back to the movie, Unbreakable, and stating that both films take place within the same universe. Through this cameo, Shyamalan ruins the movie as there is no apparent reason why such a thing should have been done.Overall, the movie is relatively enjoyable and definitely worth checking out just for James McAvoy’s performance. This is his movie first and foremost and he is amazing in its entirety. Unfortunately, the movie as a whole does not work quite as well. Having one perspective would have benefited the storyline far more, whether it was taken from Kevin or Casey. Either perspective would work, but by dividing the time up between the two perspectives, the movie becomes too diluted. The audience knows that they were supposed to root for Casey, but instead, were more interested in seeing Kevin and learning more about his story. In the end, the new M. Night Shyamalan movie, Split is inadequate as it is not very scary at all, with a few exceptions at moments of high tension, which even then, prove to be weak.