Split (2016) Review

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As with most people M Night Shyamalan has had a very hit and miss career churning out some highly praised films in Sixth Sense and Unbreakable along with some that get totally slated. He loves a good old twisty ending and some people consider his attempts at that twisty ending to be predictable and therefore kind of ruining the film. Personally I loved Devil but I think he only had a small hand in the story of that. Anyway I’d fancied this since I first heard it was coming out as I’m a fan of James McAvoy, so here’s my thoughts.

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Writer and Director: M. Night Shyamalan

Stars: James McAvoy, Anya Taylor-Joy, Betty Buckley, Haley Lu Richardson, Jessica Sula, Brad William Henke.

Budget: $9 million estimated

Run Time: 117 minutes

IMDB.com link

Trivia – When Joaquin Phoenix and the production couldn’t reach a contract agreement, James McAvoy was cast in the lead.

Trivia – Like Kevin (James McAvoy) in this movie, a real person by the name of Billy Milligan was diagnosed with multiple personality disorder with 24 personalities inside him. His condition was used in his defense for crimes he said was committed not by him but his other personalities.

The film starts off with two friends offering to give the class weirdo a lift home with them, she accepts and they head to the car but it soon all goes wrong and the girls end up kidnapped. When they awake they are soon confronted by Kevin, problem is Kevin isn’t always Kevin he suffers from a Dissociative Personality Disorder meaning his body is filled with different personalities.

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In Kevin alone there’s 23 different personalities but we only get to meet a handful in this film at any length. There’s a young boy Hedwig along with a woman named Patricia, a man named Dennis who likes watching young teens dance for him in their underwear and Barry a fashion designer.

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He has a therapist Dr. Karen Fletcher who is ridiculed by people as she researches the condition she makes discoveries that the different personalities have different physical effects on the body. She can even tell which personality is which in Kevin despite them trying to hide who they really are, she receives a number of emails throughout the film and this starts to build a suspicion in her mind that something isn’t quite right.

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The personalities battle to get to the surface and be in control even forming alliances with one another but there’s one thing they all agree upon, there’s a 24th more frightening personality that wants to come out known as The Beast. The Dr doesn’t believe that The Beast is real but the personalities all claim he’s coming and he has supernatural inhuman abilities along with being much bigger than everyone else.

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The film shows Kevin and his personalities battle amongst themselves as McAvoy does a superb job of slipping into each personality perfectly. Along the way we see the three kidnapped girls trying to escape and the Dr trying to work out what the hell is really going on.

The Good

  • It’s a fascinating subject and the film really builds on the fictional abilities of people that “suffer” from this disorder.
  • I really rate James McAvoy, ever since I saw him in a British sitcom called Shameless I knew he’d go on to be a big star. He absolutely nails this part whether it’s being a 9 year old boy, a cleanliness obsessed weirdo, an older woman or a terrifying psycho intend on murder. He really is one damn fine actor!
  • All the girls and the Dr play their parts really well.
  • The pacing of the film is spot on it slowly informs us of who and what the personalities in Kevin are up to, all unfolding to a tense last few scenes.
  • The reason Kevin needed the other personalities inside him was meaningful and well filmed.
  • There was some very clever camera work to make McAvoy appear more muscular and bigger than he was earlier in the film.
  • Nice very end scene hinting to a cross over/sequel.

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The Bad

  • There’s some unresolved issues on the girls pasts that should have been handled differently.
  • One of the girls is taken to another room in the film and seemingly forgot about for quite a while.
  • I think it needed to show a bit more of the more violent scenes than it did.

I wasn’t sure if this film would be any good as M Night Shyamalan is as I mentioned very hit and miss but this is a hit. I was worried it’d been slightly over hyped but it is well deserving of praise, have I mentioned how good McAvoy was? It’s a cool issue to use for a suspenseful supernatural based movie add to that great acting, direction and writing and this is well worth a couple of hours of anyone’s time. There’s a few issues that hinder it slightly but overall it’s a very enjoyable film and I can’t wait to see more from this universe and character.

Overall Rating – 8/10

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3 thoughts on “Split (2016) Review

  1. I absolutely loved this movie. It was so creepy and well done. I also loved the ending and its twist, though at the time, I hadn’t even heard of Unbreakable, and had to go get it ASAP to watch (liked it too, though it’s a very early 2000’s kind of film). I really hope there’s a follow-up before 2034!
    Speaking of Split, funny story: I saw it the weekend before Valentine’s Day with a friend. And the day before I went to see it, I told my dad we were going to see it, and he said he’d read a really bad review of it in Entertainment Weekly. So I thought, “Entertainment Weekly gave Split a bad review? Over a month after it came out? And after all the positive reviews?” So I check that particular issue of the magazine, and I find myself hitting my head with my hand. The magazine was ranking the best films to take your lover to for Valentine’s Day, and Split was at the very bottom. My dad, God bless him, had only scanned that section, missed the point of the ranking, and thought Split was a bad film. I called him and told him his mistake. His response: “I goofed.”
    I consider those two words a minor miracle.

    Liked by 1 person

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