Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Starring: James McAvoy, Anya Taylor-Joy and Betty Buckley
Split is a psychological thriller written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan. The central character Kevin (James McAvoy), is a man who has split himself into twenty-three different personalities to cope with the trauma he experienced as a child. When a few of these personalities decide to take over, Kevin kidnaps three young girls in preparation for the arrival of his twenty-forth personality – the beast. Whilst the girls desperately try to escape, Kevin’s therapist is suspicious that who she is talking to in their sessions is not the personality he claims to be.
The film plays with the idea that disorders, such as the one Kevin has, unlock the brains true potential; that when the mind splits itself it can actually change the entire makeup of the body it possesses. This makes the idea of the beast even more haunting as it breaks the barrier of human ability.
James McAvoy’s starring role was breath-takingly brilliant. He played each personality as though it were an entirely different person, and it was incredibly convincing. He changed the way he moved, his facial expressions and his voice, making each one so unique that the changing of clothes was an unnecessary measure to tell them apart. This film proves that he is an incredibly talented actor who will be impossible to typecast.
Halfway through Split I was thinking to myself – this is a five star film. Not only did it have very complex characters and an even more compelling plot line, but it continuously broke the tension with witty lines where you couldn’t help but laugh even though you know what is happening before your eyes is utterly horrific. However, then the film ended. It built up and up to the point that you were clutching at the arms of your chair, willing yourself not to blink because you’re terrified of what might happen in the split second you shut them. Then it kind of just ends. Don’t be too alarmed, there is a resolution, of sorts, but the film had such great potential for a mind-blowing ending, which instead signs off with a reference to Shyamalan’s earlier film Unbreakable.
For those of you who live for happily ever afters, I would not recommend this film, as you’ll only be putting yourself through emotional turmoil. I was left wondering – as the credits rolled over – how this could possibly be it. In order for Shyamalan to redeem this ending I hope the reference is alluding to a sequel, which will tie his films together, and in doing so satisfy the viewers who are left dying to know more. Overall, I believe this film is a masterpiece of artistic talent in the writing, acting and filmography. It has all the makings of a classic, and I only hope a sequel is made to give these characters the ending they deserve.
Review by Kelly Dunn