a SPLIT musing
SPLIT is only the third M. Night Shyamalan film I’ve seen, after UNBREAKABLE, which I liked a lot after seeing it two years ago, and SIGNS, which scarred me as a little kid. I know he’s notorious for his twist endings, or worse, his horrible movies as of late, so I didn’t know which to expect. I’m happy to say SPLIT doesn’t fall into his horrid films, but it doesn’t have the greatest of twists in the world either. The story is simple enough: a man suffering from Dissociative Identity Disorder kidnaps three teenage girls for unknown reasons. We get an interesting subplot of and commentary on the treatment of the disabled or handicapped and abused people, and shown how these characters use their trauma to empower rather than deflate themselves. The girl that gets fleshed out the most, Casey (played by the beautiful Anya Taylor-Joy), has an incredibly dark backstory which informs her actions suitably. The script is great, especially in its work with the aforementioned subplot, with good direction and tension built throughout. But the standout performance, of course, is absolutely James McAvoy, who plays multiple characters, sometimes at least 3 or 4 within a scene. (It wouldn’t be crazy to say that he could be nominated for at least a Golden Globe had this been released during the fall… But he’s definitely going to be in the running for the Marzon-Yeah! Awards next year!) McAvoy does incredible subtle work with each of his characters, chews the scenery whenever he needs to, and is so unpredictable which makes it one of the most fun performances to watch. When he and Taylor-Joy interact, it’s like magic, and the camera is expertly used in point-of-view shots, as well as throughout the whole film.
The more I think about this movie and its implications for Night and the reveal, the more I like it. I think I’ll need a second viewing to watch in a different context, but I’m not dying to go back right now.