M. Night Shyamalan is known to us for his major films such as The Sixth Sense, Signs and yes, even the horribly adapted The Last Airbender and among other films dating back into the early 90’s. Shyamalan has given us a mixture of amateur style films to major commercial successes such as The Sixth Sense. However for the last few years he has seen some very negative success in latter films like The Visit or After Earth. However every director can always have their comeback, I mean look at Mel Gibson, Hacksaw Ridge was probably his best film in such a long time. So for Shyamalan, Split is his Hacksaw Ridge, and half of this film’s success is probably due to James McAvoy’s exceptional acting.
Split is about a man named Dennis (McAvoy), who kidnaps three young women and keeps them in an underground-like room. However it is quickly evident that all is not as it seems as the same person appears to them in different characteristic roles, i.e. multiple personalities all inhabiting the body of Kevin Wendell Crumb, with the different personalities adding up to about 23. It is slowly revealed throughout the film that a 24th personality, called “The Beast”, is going to arise that
is intended to be the height of humanity, granting Kevin’s body superhuman-like tendencies. The three girls are intended as a sacrifice to “The Beast”.
I would dare say that this is a rare gem of a film, mainly due to the original, rich story, the exceptional acting from McAvoy and the three young women kidnapped that bounce their energy off of McAvoy’s; as an actor I would not be able to keep a straight face at times with McAvoy’s portrayal as Hedwig, a 9 year year old boy and one of the personalities that inhabits Kevin’s body.
While this film did garner some criticism from how McAvoy portrayed a man suffering from dissociative identity disorder (DID), McAvoy nonetheless masterfully portrays the various 23 identities with fluidity and versatility; I had respect for the man as an actor, however my respect for him has increased exponentially after watching this film. I don’t know any other actor that can portray different identities in literally one entire scene almost every ten seconds.
With a mastery of a blended, fluid story, acting and tying into one of Shyamalan’s previous critically acclaimed films (we won’t spoil it for you), Split is a must see and well worth the ticket price.
Split is now playing in theaters.