Hello, my lovely friends, this is my review of a 2017 movie, so yay, I am excited.
Now I am a fan of M. Night Shyamalan, not just because of his Indian roots but because he is a great storyteller. Well, he did lose his mojo for a few years but he came back solid with The Visit in 2015 and he is back in better form now with Split. The Visit was a smaller film, I guess he didn’t really want to advertise much considering how people just have been ripping his movies to bits, but I will talk about The Visit in a different review.
I was pleased with Split. Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) or Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD) or Split Personality Disorder (SPD) as a theme is not new but M. Night has used it in a unique way. There are three distinctive parts to this movie – One is James McAvoy (Kevin/23 others) who has the disease, Betty Buckley (Dr. Fletcher) who is treating McAvoy and the three girls, one of whom is Anya Taylor-Joy (Casey).
McAvoy has 23 different identities of which about 8-9 are shown. Dr. Fletcher who has been treating Kevin (the original) knows about the abused childhood and why these personalities have come forward. She also believes that people with DID can physically transform and that is the main premise of this movie. The beast, a powerful personality, the 24th is about to be unleashed to destroy those who are impure, the ones who have had a rather comfortable life. And that is where the three abducted girls come in.
The girls are kept in the house till the beast can devour them to usher in the new era of the broken, the abused. Joy is the smartest of them all and manages to make several breaks but in the end, faces the beast. Does she succeed in breaking free? Well, you will just have to watch the movie for that.
There is also a clever twist in the end for which M. Night became famous for – this is not as great as the Sixth Sense, but I still felt it was a cleverly knit one.
McAvoy has done a terrific job in showing us different characters – his expressions, body language and attitude for each is extremely distinct and there is no confusion whatsoever which personality is in control. Hedwig, the nine-year-old is delightful and extremely funny while Dennis and Patricia, the more aggressive and violent ones are almost hateful. The beast is almost a physical transformation. He is really a very underrated actor.
Anya-Taylor Joy does the emotional heavy lifting and she is great too. The movie shows her troubled childhood as well in the background and it is a great way to weave that in. Dr. Fletcher was very effective too in my opinion.
The writing was strong in most parts, it could have been better but still great. The other two girls could have been used better and I am not sure why there had to be 23 personalities. It could have been 13, that is a more sinister number.
The background was extremely good I thought – there was silence where it was required and appropriate music for a situation. M. Night Shymalan, thank you for coming back stronger than ever.
Guys, go watch this one. You will have fun.
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