Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Film Review: "Split" (2016).

"Kevin has 23 distinct personalities. The 24th is about to be unleashed." This is Split. This psychological horror thriller written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan. The film is centred on Kevin, who has evidenced 23 personalities, but there remains one still submerged who is set to materialise and dominate all the others. Compelled to abduct three teenage girls led by the wilful, observant Casey, Kevin reaches a war for survival among all of those contained within him - as well as everyone around him - as the walls between his compartments shatter apart.

Shyamalan conceived of the idea for Split years, even far back to before The Sixth Sense, before he actually wrote the screenplay, which kept untouched until recently. Having found the perfect time, Shyamalan finally decided to breathe new life into it when started to work on the script. Shyamalan then decided to re-team with producer Jason Blum, who produced Shyamalan's previous film The Visit (2015), and presented the script to Blum. Originally, Joaquin Phoenix was cast in the lead role. However, due to scheduling conflicts and not being able to reach a contractual agreement, James McAvoy was cast instead in October 2015. In the same month, Anya Taylor-Joy, Betty Buckley, Jessica Sula, and Haley Lu Richardson were added to the cast. In addition, Universal Pictures came on board to release the film and the film's title, Split, was announced. Principal photography on the film began in November 2015 in Shyamalan's hometown of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The film stars James McAvoy, Anya Taylor-Joy, Betty Buckley, Haley Lu Richardson and Jessica Sula. The cast gave terrific performances, especially to McAvoy. He gave a complex, layered and varied tour de force performance to the multiple personalities that he was able to so brilliantly conjure up.

Split is the one we've been waiting for, folks. It's good. Oh my word, is it good. But more importantly, it is excellent in that specific way that reminds us why M. Night Shyamalan was once such a marvel. It is richly humanistic, filled with such varied and individually sketched characters that often sparkle with surprises. The film provides Shyamalan fans with a satisfying blend of thrills and laughs – and also signals a true welcome return to form for writer-director M. Night Shyamalan. With somewhat questionable elements at times, the film is not as a good as The Sixth Sense. However, it is a quietly suspenseful film that intrigues and engages, taking the audience through unpredictable twists and turns along the way. Just as he did in The Sixth Sense, Shyamalan leads you into a fascinating labyrinth, an alternative universe that lurks right under our noses. In this case, it's the mythological world and, in these modern times, the secret design to that labyrinth, the key to the path, is contained in the depths of the human mind. Shyamalan is back on top, with a stripped-down story and scale, a largely superb cast and one of those classically tinged tales of psychological terror that have reliably spooked audiences for generations.

Simon says Split receives:

Also, see my review for The Visit.

No comments:

Post a Comment