Director M. Night Shyamalan early in his career struck cinematic lightening in 1999 with his highly imaginative and provocative mind twisting film ‘Sixth Sense”. Since then he has been on a slow downward slide with films that ranged from being just OK to outright awful on the entertainment spectrum.In his latest 2017 effort Director Night once again delves into his thematic area of comfort involving a story rooted in the realm of psychological suspense and thrilling intrigue in “Split”, a calculating and intricate intelligent tale that takes us the viewer into the personal space of an individual having chronic mental health issues in the way of an identity disorder.
Early in the film we meet the main character named Kevin (James McAvoy) who seemingly is managing his mental health very well for someone who has been previously clinically diagnosed as having 23 separate personalities. He is helped with his disorder with frequent emails and visits (as Kevin) to his very trusted psychiatrist named Dr. Fletcher.Meanwhile, unbeknownst to her during his frequent visits to her office, Kevin’s more dominant personality has surfaced to take control of him which has resulted in the high profile abduction of three teenage girls from a mall, who are being held captive in an underground cell.
We see kevin is at war with his dominant Dennis personality that is slowly reaching new levels of internal conflict with himself to the point his and the 3 girls wellbeing are intertwined in his being able to contained this violent side before the fragile psychological walls between them shatter apart.REVIEW: All is forgiven for the past 15 years as Director Night delivers a very intelligent, smartly crafted, chilling and emotionally griping effort that will make you squirm in your seat from the artistic buildup of real tension. Most of this comes from Director Night’s solid direction and solid writing as well as from Actor James McAvoy who singularly offers up a dominating and outstanding performance as we watch him drip by clever and convincingly drip transform his voice, face, manner and emotions into 2 hours of real anxiety. His spontaneous conjuring up of various personalities, sometime even in midsentence, will leave you in almost every frame asking…………. “What is he going to do next?”
Now there is a subplot that I am not so sure was developed as well as it could be nor how it played any real significance in the film’s conclusion. To be honest, I personally did not think this aspect of the story (as shocking as it was) was all that necessary to the film’s main characters involved. Still it was not that big of a distraction and not a deal breaker.In the end “Split” will have you guessing all the way to its finale. And while the ending fell slightly off just a tad, overall the film is solid throughout.
So, you want your nerves split in two this weekend? Go see “Split”.3.50 Stars