Split (2016)

After watching and loving Unbreakable, I followed Sid's suggestion, and I checked out its (standalone) sequel, Split.

The story follows Casey (Anya Taylor-Joy), a teenager with a traumatic past, and two of her classmates, Claire (Haley Lu Richardson) and Marcia (Jessica Sula), who are kidnapped by Kevin Wendell Crumb (James McAvoy), a man suffering from dissociative identity disorder. While the three girls try to find a way to escape, Crumb's psychologist, Dr. Karen Fletcher (Betty Buckley), delves deeper in his disorder and realises there's something wrong with him.

Plot-wise, there isn't much to say as it's a pretty simple story with some twists —at times predictable— and turns along the way. Also, it's not the most appropriate thriller storytelling as there is more telling than showing. And yet the story is very interesting, compelling, and suspenseful, and will keep you on the edge of your seat for a great portion of the film's running time.

Just like with Unbreakable, the reason Split works as good as it does is the characters. While Casey's friends couldn't be any more clichéd than that, the character of Casey is nicely written, she is given a backstory through flashbacks, and, although she's the typical girl with a troubled past, you cannot help but root for her. It also helps that Anya Taylor-Joy gives a good performance and she is able to deliver the chemistry that gradually builds between her character and her abductor. Amongst the secondary characters, Betty Buckley gives a convincing performance as Dr. Fletcher.

As for Crumb, he is such an interesting, fascinating villain because of his multiple personalities we get to meet —whether it's Denis or Patricia trying to protect Kevin, the artistic Barry, or the goofy and funny 9-year-old Hedwig, the character is always compelling. Most of the credits go to James McAvoy for delivering yet another outstanding performance. We don't get to see all of Kevin's twenty-three personalities, but he nails every single one we meet —homosexual, heterosexual, man, woman, young, old, kid, beast, he's always convincing and believable. My favourite personality? Hedwig. Although McAvoy kind of sounds like Tommy Wiseau when playing the 9-year-old boy, he is a delight every time he's on screen, and he's the reason I cared about Kevin.

Universal Pictures
Just like its predecessor, Split is slowly paced but M. Night Shyamalan manages to build tension and suspense nevertheless, and with the help of a creepy, uneasy atmosphere —enhanced by the beautiful cinematography, sets and the score from West Dylan Thordson— delivers an intense and terrifying film.

5 comments :

  1. I really enjoyed this film as it surprised the hell out of me. Especially from someone like M. Night Shyamalan who hadn't made a well-crafted film since Unbreakable. It just feels like he stripped things down and went back to what worked for him but also take a few risks.

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    1. I somehow managed to skip all those movies.

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  2. Hedwig was my favourite too! I wish I could have watched Split without knowing it was tied it Unbreakable but James McAvoy made it worth the watch regardless.

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  3. Nice review! I mostly checked out Split for James McAvoy, and his performance doesn't disappoint. There are some thrills that are fun and some that are predictable. Overall, a good movie!

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    1. Thank you! He's the reason I wanted to see the movie in 2016 but then I kept putting it off and never watched it ūüėÖ

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