“Split” Review ✦✦✦✧✧

20 January, 2017

Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Screenwriter: M. Night Shyamalan
Director of Photography: Mike Gioulakis
Cast: James McAvoy, Anya Taylor-Joy

Synopsis: An abused man with dissociative identity disorder abducts three girls, putting into motion a chain of events that could create a highly destructive new alter ego.

Split Review:

An unhinged and vulnerable piece of filmmaking carved from the mind of an ever-ambitious auteur, “Split” sees a stylistic shift from M. Night Shyamalan whose waxing and waning career finds new footing in this manic abduction thriller. The film is a helter-skelter of ideas with an audaciously miniscule line of sight and it sees a splattering of sub-plots that never quite come to fruition in the lead up to its frenzied finale.

“Split” is a film of leering close-ups and unstable perspectives as Shyamalan seeks out terror and madness down dark avenues, sticking to faces like magnets as the cogs of a deranged mind begin to turn. While the unpredictable atmosphere will go down a treat with horror fans as the movie creates an equal chance of death or escape for its young victims, “Split” is another nonsensical and uncontrolled suspense story from Shyamalan whose false sense of self-importance is sealed in reams and reams of expository dialogue.

Thankfully, James McAvoy is handed an arena of performative potential here and his presence ensures that “Split” is completely unmissable as the actor embraces the role whilst embarking on his own fascinating journey of self-discovery. Gone is the gleeful Glaswegian who smiles and charms his way through late night TV shows as Shyamalan sifts through McAvoy’s darkest and most helpless emotions, presenting his multitude of characters side-by-side and weighing them up as part of the film’s neurotic character study.

As expected, Shyamalan hides a mysterious ending within the confines of his screenplay and it’s an absurdly self-servicing and bold twist delivered through a completely unexpected moment of clarity; a scene leaving those familiar with the director’s filmography jumping for joy. The message is a true crowd-pleaser, if seen by the right audience, but for the casual viewer it can only lead to confusion as the film’s determined creator ignores the least committed party and goes on an ambitious quest within the confines of his own cinematic universe.


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