For weeks I have heard people raving about the movie Split. I heard some say it was very entertaining; some said they were confused the whole time; others said it was M. Night Shayamalan’s greatest film yet–which let’s face it, is like saying Fifty Shades Darker was the best Fifty Shades of Gray film yet.
In other words the only thing I’ve found impressive about M. Night Shaymalan is his cool name. With disasters such as the The Happening and Avatar: The Last Bender in the cinematic “Hall of Shame” it’s hard to trust the director of two of the worst movies ever. However every once in a while he seems to produce some good content such as Sixth Sense and Unbreakable making him one of the most unpredictable directors of all time. So with tempered expectations I went to see the film that just about everyone is talking about–mainly because there’s nothing really good out to see right now.
Spoiler Free Synopsis
Split’s plot revolves around a man named Kevin Crumb who kidnaps three girls and takes them to his home. What makes the story different than most abduction dramas is that Kevin suffers from Dissociative identity disorder or D.I.D. meaning that he has 23 different personalities or “personas” floating around in his brain, each taking form at different times. Although we do not see all these personalities the featured ones include Barry, an aspiring fashion designer; Patrica, a matriarchal lady of class; Dennis, a cold and calculating personality with OCD and Hedwig, a 9 year old boy. Working together led by the level headed Casey Cook the girls must deal with each personality on an individual basis to escape.
In short, Split was a disappointment with a plot-line as unstable and shaky as its leading character. With more twists and turns than a mangled roller coaster that just got hit by a tornado I found myself wanting a resolution–but not because I was particularly interested in the film–more because I just really wanted it to be over. The problem with M. Night Shayamalan is that he suffers from Michael Bay syndrome. He thinks he’s a genius and since he feels like the audience doesn’t know better he seems perfectly content to sling a ton of nuances and plot conventions around and then sucker punches the audience without any real resolution or answered questions. While McAvoy is brilliant in his four parts (bravo) I found the main premise of the story to be pretty boring (although oft times humorous) with no real surprises or shockers which is an odd characteristic for a thriller. Very few things grabbed my attention and the entire time I got the vibe that everyone was just trying way too hard. Going back to the roller coaster illustration it felt like a ride that I had ridden a 1,000 times so every turn was either expected or unimpressive.
In short, many audiences will like this film (especially fans of the kidnapping/abduction genre) which quite frankly I don’t really care for. In fact, it reminded me of the movie Don’t Breathe which I also didn’t care for. If anything, you should watch it for James McAvoy who really shined in his portrayals. I’ve always appreciated his work and I think he’s highly talented. Unfortunately he seemed boxed into an aspiring work that had its ebbs and flows but turned out to be rather unsuccessful in my estimation.
Daily Diatribe Rating: 5/10