Split Review 2017

Rating:  PG-13

Runtime:  1hr 57mins.

Starring:  James McAvoy, Anya Taylor-Joy, and Haley Lu Richardson

In 1999, I was introduced to whom I thought would be the next great cinematic genius, M. Knight Shyamalan.  His movie, The 6th Sense in August of that year was a cultural phenomenon. Even his name made me intrigued to see his movies.  And just to whisper, “I see dead people” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QUYKSWQmkrg) gave me chills.  But after a small string of onscreen successes such as, Unbreakable, Signs and Lady in the Water, his movies became increasingly more disappointing.  It is like having a relationship with a beautiful girlfriend, I mean absolutely gorgeous, that goes bad over time.  When you first start the relationship, everything is wonderful.  You are holding hands, skipping through pasture fields smelling flowers as the sun rises in the background.  Then as time goes on, she still looks magnificent, but now every date is like dragging her lifeless body around town while she complains about everything and all her answers comprises of only one word.  You break off the relationship and time passes, but then you see her at the 20-year high school reunion and she is stunning.  When she walks into the room, for some reason it is in slow motion, her hair is blowing and there is music playing in the background as she smiles at you.  So once again, you must try, just one more time.   And it is truly wonderful again.  This has been my experience with M. Knight Shyamalan’s movies and Split will rekindle your cinematic relationship and restore the beauty from years past.

Split is about three girls who are kidnapped by a man with over 23 personalities.  They must escape before the emergence of the most frightening personality of them all, The Beast.  James McAvoy gives his best performance to date as Dennis a man suffering from multiple personalities.  He truly is remarkable in this role and makes you believe that he is every one of those personalities who are fighting for dominance.  At times, I forget that I was watching a performance because he draws me in like a hypnotist, making me believe that I was in his constant world of chaos and disorder.

The movie flows at a good pace.  It keeps you very much involved, trying to figure out how all the sub plots are tied together.  Shyamalan’s  intention is to make you second guess yourself, questioning the reality of what you are watching.  Brilliantly, he even pays homage to his past movie or movies that I think his renounce brethren will truly love.

So, does this mean my movie love affair with M. Knight has been restored?  Hmm, the jury is still out.  But it was an enjoyable one night stand.  This is a date movie, where you and your significant other can travel on this thrilling ride together and maybe start or revive a movie love affair with M. Knight Shyamalan.