You know, for my drunken reviews I feel that I’m only talking about total shit and not any movies I’ve actually enjoyed. I’ve only been giving out hangover ratings. No one has earned any margaritas yet. Why am I such an angry monkey?
Since I just watched a film in the theater that was pretty awesome, I figured I’d get drunk tonight, throw on some YouTube beauty videos in the background, and ramble about the movie. In a good way! That and get Annie’s Cheddar Squares crumbs all over my laptop.
Fuck off, I don’t need a napkin. Or a bowl. Or coordination.
(again a reminder that my editor is currently sleeping off a 3-day drunk in his therapist’s office so I might let a spoiler or two slip out)
So Friday morning I went to see M. Night Shyamalan’s new…Hey, where are you going? GET BACK HERE. Trust me, you’ll wanna stick around for this! I know. He’s disappointed many of us in the past. I don’t need to mention (but I will) The Happening, The Village, Devil, etc. I’ve heard another one or two are bad but I haven’t seen those.
But this…THIS movie is a great example of how good M. Night can be. This is not horror – I think he got pigeonholed in that genre because of The Sixth Sense. This is a straight up thriller. And it’s good. Let me break it down a bit for you.
Three young girls are kidnapped by a man who has 23 distinct personalities. Three of the personalities have taken charge and are preparing the others, the girls, and the world for the coming of #24 – The Beast. The man’s therapist, Dr. Karen Fletcher, is trying to help him (the real man’s name is Kevin) as well as convince the world that not only are multiple personalities real, they are also capable of having completely different physiological properties from each other – all within the same physical body. For example, one personality needs insulin for diabetes but another doesn’t. One needs glasses and another has asthma.
You get the point, yes?
Dr. Fletcher believes the stories of The Beast are just that – stories to scare the other personalities into submission. Unfortunately for her and our victims, The Beast is quite real. He is stronger than all the others combined, more savage, and the perfect harbinger of a future the main personalities want the world to witness.
This was a fantastic thriller. There are not a lot of convenient info dumps to move the story along or give us character backgrounds. The pacing is excellent. It’s a nice slow build to the climax. We like when a man can take his time…wait, what? Whew, things are getting a little warm and fuzzy here. I’d better move along.
The acting is top notch. Betty Buckley plays the therapist and through the whole movie I really wanted to start seeing a psychiatrist in the hopes I’d get someone just like her. She’s genuinely warm and caring and you can see how much she worries for Kevin (or Barry, who is the main personality she talks to most of the time). Anya Taylor-Joy (The VVitch) was great as Casey, the outcast whose weirdness is actually the most useful aspect about her.
But the star, of course, is James McAvoy as Kevin and all the other personalities. He is absolute perfection in this film. With just a facial expression or simple mannerism, you could tell which personality came forth. He didn’t even need to speak for you to realize who was entering the light each time. And when the real Kevin appears, it’s absolutely heartbreaking.
(A big shout out to the woman four rows in front of me for yelling out the name of each personality as they appeared. Thanks for helping out the entire theater, sweetheart.)
There are a few faults here. While I said there aren’t a lot of info dumps, I can recall at least two, both from the doctor and both in actual dialogue that feels it’s only there to set up future “reveals”. When I know a reveal will be forthcoming, it’s not really a reveal, is it, M. Night? It’s also not difficult to figure out the ending. Not necessarily the truth about Dennis (one of the dominant personalities) and his job but more who lives and who dies.
If you think M. Night is only a horror writer/director or a bad writer/director of any genre, you need to throw all that shit aside and go see Split. You will not be disappointed. You might actually have a good time and *gasp* want to see more of his work!