Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Movie Review: Split

M. Night Shyamalan takes on mental illness in his latest thriller. James McAvoy plays the character Kevin and his multiple inhabitants in an impressive performance. Unfortunately, McAvoy performance is the only part of the film worth watching. I will be spoiling the end of this film but since it hardly affects the actual story, I wouldn't worry too much about spoiling the experience. I was under the impression that Shyamalan was striking out on a new path of successful thrillers but the ending of this one relies too heavily on past success. 

Under on of the influence of his personality known as Dennis, McAvoy's Kevin kidnaps three young women, Marcia (Jessica Sula), Claire (Haley Lu Richardson), and loner Casey (Anya Taylor-Joy). The three women don't do much to fight back against their captor and Casey refuses to cooperate with the other two for fear of the extra strong Dennis. Meanwhile, a friendlier personality known as Barry visits a therapist Dr. Fletcher (Betty Buckley). 

Dr. Fletcher believes that Kevin is inhabited by other personalities and that he is, in fact, an extraordinary individual capable of super powers. The movie switches between scenes of captivity and these therapy sessions with flashbacks to Casey's childhood. The flashbacks matter to the climax but don't amount to much as that is not a definitive issue or a surprise twist. I thought these flashbacks would come to something more but really just used abuse for a strange entertainment factor, though I haven't heard many complaints about that.

McAvoy's performance is worth a kudos and the best part of the film, making it worth the price of admission. However, the ending leaves something to be desired and then after the title card, there is additional information. David Dunn (Bruce Willis) is spotted sitting at the end of a diner table watching the news as a newscaster gives the escaped madman a catchy name, The Horde. Dunn announces that this is very similar to when they arrested Mr. Glass, making this film an indirect sequel of Unbreakable, pretty disappointing. 

I thought Shyamalan was riding a wave of comeback from his decline but I worry this is the beginning of a quick return to his decline and production of inferior movies. He may come out with additional stories in want is being called the Unbreakable Universe, but I'm not sure that was really in that high demand besides a few diehard fans. The movie relies on the twist and this one relies on a whole other movie so I consider this a disappointing payoff of a mediocre film altogether. 

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