So I finally got round to watching ‘Split’ last night and, having never been entirely convinced by James McAvoy in the past, I am delighted to say he is simply astonishing in this film as the titular multiple personality disorder sufferer, with no less than 25 different personalities all jostling for his cranial limelight.
To give any of the plot details away would be to ruin the fun, but the film does asks some very intriguing questions – again, to detail them here would be to spoil the fun – but this is an absolutely fascinating thriller that is less horror-psycho-thriller than it is slow-burn character(s) piece.
Whether portraying a lisping eight year old Kanye West fan with some seriously questionable dance moves, or a psychopathic OCD afflicted control-freak, McAvoy is simply astounding (and, dare I say, Oscar-worthy) all bulging forehead veins and lost-child eye-rolls. Yes, Shyamalan is finally back on form after the triple mis-fire of (whisper it) The Happening, The Last Airbender and the ego-centric Will Smith and Son’s After Earth (last year’s excellent The Visit has not been included as a mis-fire as I personally thought it was excellent, plus it was the ‘warm-up’ before his proper return).
The three young girls are all excellent, but naturally it is Taylor-Joy here who rules the roost as a survivalist-trained oddball who tries to bond with her captor(s?) in order to try and make it to the final frames. Those expecting a slam-bang-Shyamalan rug-pulling finale may be slightly disappointed and admittedly the climactic showdown doesn’t quite deliver the payload we’ve all been waiting for, however a devious final scene may have you questioning whether you knew what sort of film you were watching at all.
That’s ALL I will say about the film itself, but in the cinematic universe the film will easily stand up to repeat viewings. It has already spawned a whole host of Fandom conspiracy theories (hint: it’s all about the flashbacks…) and I geniunely think the film will mature with age, like a good piece of cheese.
So go and watch this terrific and very intense psycho-thriller and then you’ll know what I mean. And then go and watch it again. And maybe again…
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