Stars: James McAvoy, Anya Taylor-Joy, Haley Lu Richardson
Directed: M. Night Shyamalan
Rating: M (Mature themes, violence and occasional coarse language)
Released: 26 January 2017
Movie twists and M. Night Shyamalan have become synonymous in Hollywood after the popularity of The Sixth Sense (1999), Unbreakable (2000), Signs (2002) and, to a lesser extent, The Village (2004). The movie twist has always been a hard thing to pull off in Hollywood and with all the ingenious and brilliant writing that it requires, has spawned the rather abominable act of ‘spoiling’. As a vital part of any medium’s advertising and reputation is word of mouth, the act of spoiling has only has increased drastically with the takeover of social media. Even to say that a movie has a twist in the first place can be a spoiler in itself and on that note I will not say if Split has one or not.
James McAvoy does a brilliant job as both the antagonist and occasional protagonist in this film about a man with 23 distinct personalities who kidnaps three girls from a supermarket carpark. Each personality has their own quirks that McAvoy portrays greatly, but it is the promise of a 24th undiagnosed personality that creates the tension in the film. Interspersed with therapy sessions with his counsellor, Shyamalan merges a torture/kidnapping thriller with somewhat of a mental disorder lesson. Another joy to watch (no pun intended) was Anya Taylor-Joy. Although only having three credited movie roles prior to this film (including 2015’s The Witch), Taylor-Joy plays the lonely, outcast teenager role very well. She has all the makings of an indie darling if she is not already considered one.
I liked this movie. Quite a bit actually. I feel Shyamalan has redeemed himself for the trio of flops that were The Lady in the Water (2006), The Happening (2008) and The Last Airbender (2010).