Starring: James McAvoy, Anya Taylor-Joy, Haley Lu Richardson, Betty Buckley, Izzie Coffey, Brad William Henke
Directed by: M. Night Shyamalan
Written by: M. Night Shyamalan
Rating: PG-13 Running Time: 1 hr. 57 min
On this trip to the movies I was joined by my friend, Rosaline. We were both looking forward to seeing a return to form by Mr. M. Night Shyamalan.
Split does a nice job balancing pseudo psychiatric science, and the showier elements of a traditional horror thriller designed to thrill a mainstream audience. As in, it feels real enough to pull you in, but it still requires some suspension of disbelief to enjoy. Like b-movie schlock made by a-list people.
If you sit and think about it too long, it probably won’t stand up to too much scrutiny, but if you’re looking for classic M. Night Shyamalan (the guy who gave us Signs, The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable), this is the film for you. It gives the superb James McAvoy the kind of showoff-y role actors probably have wet dreams about, and the whole thing builds steadily to a very satisfying conclusion.
Is it predictable? Somewhat, and I did correctly peg the characters who wouldn’t be watching the credits roll. Movies like this, however, can’t really help fall into long-established themes. There are only so many ways you can present the kidnapped girls in the basement with the creepy psycho bit, and Mr. Shyamalan deserves credit for managing to squeeze in a few surprises here and there.
If you’re a fan of M. Night Shyamalan’s earlier work, I think you’ll be entertained by this. Just don’t take the psychobabble too seriously.
If you’re a fan of James McAvoy (like me!), you’ll love his performance in this.