M. Night Shyamalan is back with a new film at the start of the year with Split. His other films have been kind of hit and miss lately, so one has to wonder how will Split fare compared to its predecessors. For one, it seems that this film will be the thematic sequel to Shyamalan’s own Unbreakable movie that has gained a sort of cult status. But we are here to find out, so read on below!
The basic premise is about three girls Claire, Marcia, and Casey who are abducted by a man named simply as Kevin. However, they soon found out that Kevin contains numerous personalities due to his traumatic past. Each of the personality will gain control over the body and acts differently with different behaviour and belief. Meanwhile, Kevin’s psychiatrist, Dr. Fletcher, discovers some urgent email from Barry, who used to be the dominant personality of Kevin, which signals an incoming danger. The girls will have to find time to escape, as they start to discover that perhaps Kevin has one more hidden personality that could treat them as sacrifices for his own rebirth.
James McAvoy absolutely has the skill being an actor that is able to deliver great performances as a personality disorder patient. Each of the personality shown has a unique pattern, like certain body languages and ways of talking. Sometimes, they wear different shirts or wear sunglasses, allowing us to deduce straight away the identity of the currently dominant personality. His facial expression is handled expertly to further differentiate the personalities, and for these, I will commend him.
The story is pretty predictable and cliche, except for the ending which only those that have watched Unbreakable will understand. It’s a cheeky way of rewarding longtime fan of the 17-year-old film. While the character of Kevin scores a full point, the other characters, aside from Casey are sadly relegated to a minor role. It’s a bit of disappointment but I do understand the constraint when Kevin himself represents over 24 characters. Essentially, it is more of a B movie, but with the story more interesting and having casted a great actor for the perfect role. This film is also somewhat tied to a case based on true story.