The newest directorial installment from the strange mind of M. Night Shyamalan and you’re probably thinking: Please. Don’t. Suck. I’ve seen it, I have the results, deep breath. How does Split hold up? Let’s break it down.
Split is directed and written by M. Night Shyamalan. The story is as follows: Three female high schoolers are abducted by a man named “Dennis” and as the plot thickens, we learn that “Dennis” is only one of 23 different personalities living inside man suffering from DID (dissociative identity disorder) named Kevin Wendell Crumb. Now these girls have to find a way out of this disclosed location before Kevin’s secret and dangerous 24th personality, “The Beast” is unleashed upon them.
For as polarizing as Shyamalan has been in the past in regards to his past films, I’ve only really love two of them: that’s The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable. Beyond those two, the rest are just alright or crap. (I don’t think Signs is all that great, @ me) But now, I’m adding Split to my favorites list because this movie is a great, psychological thriller story with so much more meaning underneath the surface.
Dare I say, Split is… lit. I know I know… Save your applause.
Let’s talk James McAvoy. This guy is a phenomenal actor. You don’t see all 23 personalities that inhabit McAvoy’s character, but the ones that are on display are mastered to perfection. This movie shows just how versatile McAvoy is as an actor, the man can sell you on any character he portrays. You can tell when a different personality is taking over the body of McAvoy just through his facial expressions and mannerisms. It’s something to be applauded in my book, that can’t be easy for any actor.
The rest of the cast also proved to be incredibly capable in their respective roles and their interactions with McAvoy. Anya Taylor-Joy is great as one of the trapped girls who ends up learning the most about McAvoy’s character, or characters. Betty Buckley is the old psychiatrist that helps Kevin cope with his multiple personalities and she delivers a fantastic performance that actually brought a lot of more levity to the story. The two other girls who are trapped with Taylor-Joy’s character are just fine for what they are, their presences isn’t really realized towards the end, but they are there for a reason and the movie ultimately trusts you to be patience and wait to see how things play out.
In typical Shyamalan fashion, there’s usually a “twist” in all his movie endings. I wouldn’t call the ending of Split a twist, but more of a reveal. Without spoiling anything, the film makes certain decisions at the end that made me think, “alright this is getting pretty stupid now.” Once this reveal hit the screen, I instantly changed my perspective of the entire movie and made me appreciate it even more. It’s truly a “Wow” moment.
Despite myself really enjoying Split in the end, I feel audiences will, no pun intended, be split on Split as a whole. Some might really like it and others will call BS on it. However you feel about it, I did come across this YouTube video made by Fnga BANG Show that helped me clarify the ending afterwards. He makes great, quick recaps and explanation videos to the endings of multiple films so check it out if you need another set of eyes on this ending.
I’m going to give Split an “A-” on the movie grading scale. This is a great return to form for M. Night and is definitely worth a watch or two. Just be careful not to run into any spoilers online, I purposefully wrote this review as vague as possible. Just go watch it.
As always, thanks so much for reading and make sure to stay posted to Frank’s Takes for more reviews. Until next time, keep it 100.