Earlier this week at a preview screening, as I grabbed my seat in the theater awaiting the start of the newest M. Night Shyamalan’s production, ‘Split,’ I caught myself already predicting the ‘twist’ that usually accompanies Mr. Shyamalans’ films. The first frame hadn’t even hit the big screen yet and I was already foreseeing the reveal based solely on the film trailer. Then I told myself, this time it’ll be different. There will be no ‘twist’ and THAT in fact will be the ‘twist.’
The first scene made an impact and grabbed my full attention. James McAvoy’s character Kevin Wendell Crumb kidnaps three teenage girls Casey (Anna Taylor-Joy), Marcia (Jessica Sula) and Claire (Haley Lu Richardson) after a party in broad daylight and in the middle of a public parking lot. After waking up in what obviously seems at the time to be basement of an abandoned warehouse, the girls, besides being frightened, are continuously confused by their kidnappers behavior and potential motive. They notice that every time they see their captor, they’re seemingly talking to a different person. Their confusion is justified as at any given moment, Kevin acts like a 9 year old boy (Hedwig), or a cult leader like woman (Patricia) and the creepiest of them all, an obsessive compulsive man (Dennis).
As the story unravels, we see Kevin making multiple visits to his psychiatrists (Dr. Karen Fletcher) office where we learn of his affliction with DID (Dissociate Identity Disorder). We learn that Kevin’s body is the home of his 23 personalities (The Horde), each unique and determined and wanting to be in ‘The Light,’ or in this case, in control. Throughout the remainder of the film, we see the acting brilliance of James McAvoy, seamlessly switching, sometimes on a dime, through many of his characters’ personalities. Each believable and distinct in every way from the other you just witnessed. Its in this brilliance, much of it can be credited to the storytelling of Shyamalan and the cinematography, I let myself forget about the ‘twist’ and truly settled into the story.
As our girls continue their struggles to escape, they are getting more and more clues into what’s awaiting them. The 24th personality, ‘The Beast’, is bubbling under the surface and it’s nothing compared to the others they have witnessed thus far. McAvoy already had my tip of the cap till that point, but when ‘The Beast’ finally makes an appearance on screen, there was a physical reaction in my body as I sat up in my chair and leaned forward.
Overall, ‘Split’ is up there with one of my favorite M. Night Shyamalan’s films. Its definitely up there with one of my favorite James McAvoy’s films. I’d recommend seeing it on the big screen. Oh and was there a twist? Go see it and you tell me..
*Opens on Friday Jan 20th, 2017
4.25 out of 5 Popcorns
Lights, Camera, Movies!