Aveneu Park, Starling, Australia

The it in the movie. Now, it

The film “Split” is a thriller from M. Night Shyamalan starring James McAvoy and Anna Taylor Joy. Back in the 1990s, Shyamalan took the world by storm with the movie “The Sixth Sense”, as he created the new idea that the audience had an exciting new filmmaking voice. Unfortunately, his movies following “The Sixth Sense” didn’t 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 “Avatar 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 movie with a lower budget and simpler concept; this seemed to work to his advantage. Although the film was not rated well, “The Visit” still showed signs of significant improvement, with numerous genuinely scary moments occurring throughout the movie. This positive momentum continued as he produced yet another movie, “Split”. The main reason that this movie is a 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. I 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. This however, is not really the case, despite the fact 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 presented as Kevin, interacts with a psychologist, Dr. Fletcher. It is via Dr. Fletcher that Shyamalan explores the real meat of what he is getting out with the movie: Kevin suffers from a disorder called Dissociative Identity Disorder (D.I.D.). Although these scenes are all generally pretty dry and full of very research-sounding dialogue, as well as the fact that they tend to slow the movie down and take away from the girls circumstances, they are the weapon that Shyamalan uses to portray the actual concepts that he wants to be explored. D.I.D. is a condition where a person (in this case, Kevin) has several personalities living within one body. Although 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 character he doesn’t. 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 stand alone as, at this point, the psychology community do not. Although this may sound a bit out there, it is actually true in the field of psychology, with mounting evidence showing this to occur 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 is more about Kevin taking the girls rather than psychological concepts, so personally have it can be said that that side of the story with the girls just feels a bit weaker because it is not given as much development as it possibly should 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 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 becomes what some would consider as goofy, with the film proving to be almost like 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 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 Anna 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”, Shyamalan ruins the movie as there is no apparent reason why such a thing should have been done.Overall, the movie is pretty good and definitely worth checking out just for James McAvoy 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 Anna Taylor Joyce 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, audiences were more interested in seeing Kevin and learning more about his story. Additionally, it just is not very scary at all, with a few exceptions at moments of high tension, which even then, prove to be weak. For example, one of the girls tries to escape and we as the audience are convinced that Kevin is going to kill her, but, he does not. There is therefore not much of a threat from Kevin for most of the movie and thus, the suspense is unable to ramp up over the course of the story. The viewers are just waiting for the mysterious beast to show up and everything until then feels like biting time with these characters rather than developing the plot into a more compelling direction.


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