M. Night Shyamalan has somewhat of a reputation amongst the film-making community and the people who watch his films. However there are some who are seeing his latest film Split starring James McAvoy as something of a return to form.
Split centres around a man diagnosed with 23 distinct personalities who kidnaps Casey (Anya Taylor-Joy), Claire (Haley Lu Richardson) and Marcia (Jessica Sula). As the three of them begin to understand what is going on they have to work out which personalities will help them escape and which will try and stop them.
If you have been reading my reviews for a while then you might recognise Casey as the girl who played Morgan in the film of the same name. You might also recognise Claire as Krista from The Edge of Seventeen. Meanwhile Jessica Sula may be best remembered for her role as Grace Violet from Skins.
Kevin and his 23 different personalities are all played by the incredibly talented James McAvoy. Playing one character well is hard enough but having to pull off so many distinct personalities was impressive. Each personality that the audience saw was interesting and engaging, honestly this film wouldn’t have worked half as well as it did without him.
Another interesting characters in this film was Dr. Karen Fletcher (Betty Buckley) who helps Kevin with his Dissociative Identity Disorder. The scenes between her character and Kevin’s Personalities were fascinating to watch, especially for someone who doesn’t know a whole lot about D.I.D.
Each of the three girls had their moments in this film but from very early on you can tell that the main focus would be on Casey. Her flashbacks seemed to be a bit random at first but have more and more impact as the film progresses. Anya Taylor-Joy gives a brilliant performance alongside McAvoy and particularly the personality known as Hedwig.
The film itself has a run time of 117 minutes and is much more of a thriller than it is a horror. The psychological elements work well and I thought it was interesting to see all the different personalities and how the worked together. However it wouldn’t be a M. Night Shyamalan film without a twist and it was a decent one, well assuming you get it of course.
Split may not be his best work ever but it is definitely an improvement from some of his more recent efforts. McAvoy was a brilliant casting choice, the girls and the doctor all gave decent performances, while this might be at the top of your list, it may just be worth a look.