NRR: Split

Nobody Reads Reviews


I don’t wish badly on any filmmaker, but there was a time I wanted M.Night to just stop making movies. It was flop after flop and even though I heard a year before this that he had his name on a decent project – This feels slightly like a return to good form. Split’s twist was ruined for me early and I therefore ruined it for my fiends when I told them they had to go see it. But there is the truth in it: You should really go see it (and remain unspoiled if you can). M is the master of the twist, so much so it is a trope he can’t escape, but if you take out the final scene, which he claims was a late addition; this film is devoid of one. It’s just mad decent story telling.

James McAvoy does an amazing job giving each of these personalities their own persona. He has an individual voice and pairing of mannerisms for each character. I would venture to say Shyamalan develops some of these personas better than some directors develop whole characters over the span of a film. You feel for some of the characters ‘trapped’ inside of his head. The girl from Morgan, Ana Taylor-Joy does a great job in this movie, where she is so unaffected by everything she might as well be a robot. She is not like the other 2 girls captured and you come to realize why through a series of flashbacks. The old lady therapist just seems to spit exposition. Her purpose is easily understood as she helps to explain and bring warmth to the story but not as needed, as M.Night must’ve thought. But the 2 main characters are what takes this film beyond ‘mad decent’ territory as they delve and explore the characters in a way that brings lie to Shyamalans writing.

It is frightening after the girls are initially caught because you do not know this mans intentions. Even if you know or grasp going in that he has multiple personalities, the thought one of them wants to rape is steadily on your mind. Then at the end when the new persona finally is laid bare, you are a little scared that the tiny girl is not going to escape the aftermath. The music helps with this too as the score is gripping and effective. The abuse the children endure is something that makes some reviewers uncomfortable, but honestly helps ground the crazy story. Someone who kidnaps girls usually wants to do more than strip off one piece of their clothing when they misbehave. In the end you realize that the main character was out of place in this group of girls and the resolution makes for a great set up for the might-as-well-be-post-credit reveal. It’s what most of us have been waiting for and for that I give this film 4/5

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