M. Night Shyamalan started with a bang when he released The Sixth Sense, and then kept the ball rolling with Unbreakable and Signs. Then The Village happened … and Lady in the Water … and The Happening, … and The Last Airbender and After Earth. But then he made The Village and we got a hint that he was back. Split guarantees that Shyamalan is finally back to what he’s good at.
Split is a psychological thriller about a man with dissociative identity disorder (James McAvoy) who has 23 different personalities. He kidnaps three girls (Anya Taylor-Joy, Haley Lu Richardson, and Jessica Sula) and they just escape before a 24th personality comes out.
I have to start with this: James McAvoy gives the best performance of his career in this movie. And I’m a huge X-Men fan. You really feel that each person is a different personality. The most minute things he does like posture, facial expressions, and accents really shape the character. He goes all the way to create this disturbing, sinister character.
Anya Taylor-Joy, who was great in The Witch, also gives a great performance as Casey. She does a very good job of giving off this sense that there is more to her character than she is letting on. She is a new talent to watch out for in the future. As for the supporting characters, Haley Lu Richardson and Jessica Sula, they do a fine job. The problem is that whenever they are on screen they are playing off of Anya Taylor-Joy or James McAvoy and they get overshadowed, but they definitely do not give bad performances.
The movie is very well shot and you’re sitting on the edge of your seat focusing on every frame. It has a very tense and contained feel in the scenes with the three girls. However, the film has scenes where it goes to flashbacks with Casey as a little girl and McAvoy’s therapy sessions with Dr. Karen Fletcher played by Betty Buckley. The flashbacks felt forced but, without spoiling anything, they might pay off in the long run. Some of the therapy sessions were interesting, but others, especially one with e Skype call, just were a little unnecessary.
One last thing, the score in this movie by West Dylan Anderson is so subtle that you forget that it’s there, but it adds a whole new layer to the film.
In the end, Split is a very fun movie and I really recommend that you see it if you haven’t already. Shyamalan is finally back to his roots.
Split is rated PG-13.
Directed by M. Night Shyamalan. Starring James McAvoy, Anya Taylor-Joy, Betty Buckley, and Jessica Sula.