Kevin (James McAvoy) has been diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder by his psychiatrist Dr. Fletcher (Betty Buckley) but when one of the stronger identities takes over and abducts 3 girls, he claims that somethings bigger is coming. With the threat that a 24th identity is on the horizon, the girls must get out before it’s too late.
M. Night Shyamalan has gotten a bad rap the last 10 years and rightfully so with movies like The Village, Lady in the Water and The Happening. 2 years ago he released The Visit that showed glimpses of his glory days like when he put out films like The Sixth Sense, Signs and Unbreakable. One thing you come to know about M. Night Shyamalan is that his movies tend to have big twists, and when I sat down for Split, I have to say, I was looking for something huge. Did it come?
Without giving much away, the twist that comes from Split has nothing to do with the actual story of James McAvoy’s character. Honesty, I was thinking as I watched this movie that we were inside the mind of Donnie Wahlberg’s character from the Sixth Sense right before he shoots Dr. Malcolm, but we aren’t. I was hoping for something intertwined like that but it doesn’t detract from the straight-forward story.
As far as the actual movie is concerned, Split is a good movie. It isn’t great like some of his earlier films, but this is definitely a continued step in the right direction for M. Night Shyamalan. James McAvoy is what this movie is about. He takes control and shows us what his talents can do. The only problem I have is that the first half of the film is mostly dialogue. 3 women have been abducted and there is hardly any tension or real danger. I never felt for a second that these women were in trouble and everything we learn during this part I saw in the trailer. The 2nd half of the movie picks up as things do become tense and troubling, however, nothing irritated me more than watching the scene in the kitchen and seeing the girl walk right by the knife on the counter! Seriously! Pick it up and stab it crazy man and get out! The ending is thrilling and intense but I can’t help but feel slighted because there wasn’t that shocking M. Night Shyamalan ending. Ok, sure, the last scene of the movie sets something up for a future film, but it isn’t as special as I was hoping for.
At the end of the day, Split is a movie worth watching if you are a fan of M. Night Shyamalan’s earlier movies. It is a return to form for him and I hope his movies only get better from here. I’m a little sad that Split didn’t grab me like I was hoping for, but James McAvoy steals the show and makes it something unique. Thumps up! Co-starring Anya Taylor-Joy, Haley Lu Richardson, Jessica Sula, and Brad William Henke.
7/10 Stars – Even with the slow beginning and the straight-forward story, James McAvoy takes control of Split and helps M. Night Shyamalan return to form.