Warning – The following contains MAJOR spoilers – you have been warned.
M. Knight Shyamalan returns to our screens with the intensely striking Split. James McAvoy (X-men First Class, The Last King of Scotland), stars as Kevin Crumb a mentally challenged individual with 23 different personalities. Crumb adducts 3 young women and the movie revolves around his treatment of the girls.
Shyamalan is renowned for making Hollywood stinkers, but he strikes a surprising home run with this flick. This film itself won’t actually redeemed the unforgivable damage he’s done, what with the Last Airbender After Earth, The Happening…It’s making me ill just mentioning those names. No this film does have its flaws, they are few and far between so lets start by getting the major one out-of-the-way first: This film is essentially Horror-Bait. The theatre was packed out with an eager audience who clearly were enthralled with the gripping trailer that made this movie out to be some sort of multiple personality horror movie. It wasn’t, not by a long shot. This thriller does have its horrific moments towards the end of the movie but by that point you’ve already laughed way too hard at the humorous script to bat an eyelid at them. I’ll grant you, the odd jump scare or three are cheap ways to think that you’re watching the next Silence of the Lambs. No, this film isn’t really a horror film, but it wants you to go into the movie thinking its a horror film. 20 minutes in someone in the row behind me exclaimed “how is this a 15 rating?” And to be perfectly honest? By that point, I agreed with him. But then as the film progressed, it became apparent that its rating suited it. And that this film has the odd scary moment, but ultimately it isn’t actually a horror film.
Without a doubt, the best aspect of this movie was James McAvoy performances. He plays so many different and diverse characters. Each with a different age, personality, gender, attitudes and even dress sense. Macavoy’s use of props and body language is simply breathtaking. Each difference in personality has a different style like Dennis who suffers from OCD and has a neatly ironed and button shirt whereas Patricia always wears a shawl of sorts. His performance in this is honestly oscar-worthy. At times it was even likeable to Sir Antony Hopkin’s portrayal of Hannibal Lecter in Silence of the Lambs. What is more noticeable about his performance, is the clear fun he had with this role. Playing a scheming man in drag; a nine-year old boy who likes Kanye West and dancing and an almost supernatural entity all in one film? You can tell it’s a piece where he was allowed to chew the scenery and enjoyed doing so. This film is his Tour De Force and highlights how underrated an actor and frankly, just how funny he actually is.
The elucidation revolves purely around intensity. Every seen is a tense-filled moment that drips and oozes with drama and confusion. This film is dramatic irony in its purest form. We know that this man sitting who randomly enters the car is a very ill and very dangerous man after watching the trailer before going into, and the characters have no idea what is going on. But as the movie progresses and all the ramblings of “The Beast is coming.” We just think Crumb is a mentally ill person who needs help. However, it transpires that Crumb’s illness actually allows his body to transform as he believes what he is. This completely changes the audiences perception of the character and his condition.
The premise that Kevin’s illness allows his body to change when he changes personality is an entirely believable one and that is what adds to the tension. Compared that with 2008’s The Happening, where the plants make us kill ourselves…The film revolving around mental health challenges and abuse victims was a thought-provoking one that really works. The film treats mental health challenges with respect by making victims of abuse, like the film’s protagonist Casey, “the sacred ones” – even if the plot of the film revolves around a canniblistic psychopath.
The most mind-blowing fact about this movie is that it’s a sort of sequel to Unbreakable – one of the best superhero movies of all time. Fact. Yes i have already warned you of spoilers, and boy even I was shocked to see Bruce Willis’s David Dunn refer that Crumb was a similar case to Mr Glass. The whole audience was taken by surprise and you can see that this was a sequel that everyone wanted. This was the director tipping his hat towards his next project and f Unbreakable 2 is on the cards then I am one excited bunny.
If I said to you that there is a good M. Knight Shyamalan film out now, you’d probably scoff. But this film is honestly one of his best work and its a really enjoyable outing. James McAvoy is a pleasure to watch in his role and honestly deserves as many awards as humanly possible for this role. Don’t be fooled by the trailer though, this film isn’t a horror movie per say, more of an Artsy James Macavoy show reel encased in a thriller’s shell.
Would I recommend this movie?Yes – McAvoy shines in a funny Shyamalan thriller you don’t want to miss.