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Split is a new thriller directed by M. Night Shyamalan (The Sixth Sense (1999), Signs (2002), After Earth (2013)). The movie tells us about three young girls: Claire (Haley Lu Richardson), Marcia (Jessica Sula) and Casey (Anya Taylor-Joy), that has been kidnapped and locked in the windowless basement by the seemingly nerd Kevin Wendell Crumb (James McAvoy). As the story goes on, we can get to know Kevin is a sufferer of Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), best known as Multiple Personality Disorder, under the care of psychiatrist dr. Karen Fletcher (Betty Buckley). Kevin, has 23 (later know as 24) personalities: the leader and the somewhat fashion designer Barry, the fan of conspiracy theory Orwell and so many more, as well as other “unwanted” personalities that they call themselves “the horde”: the perverted OCD Dennis, the sassy Patricia, the lipsy 9 years old Hedwig, and finally 24th personality The Beast. When the thought-to-be-just-fantasy Beast comes to the light, Casey realizes she must do something to escape herself and her friends from that frightening man.
7.2/10. I have mistakenly presumed this movie as an adaptation of Daniel Keyes’ non-fiction novel The Minds of Billy Milligan (1981) that exactly has the same 24 personalities like McAvoy’s Kevin Wendell Crumb in this movie. It turns out that I was completely wrong. This movie is not an adaptation from any novel, and The Minds of Billy Milligan would be filmed with Leonardo Dicaprio as the main lead.
So this movie is like going nowhere for me. Shyamalan tried to try “go big or go home” with creating 24 personalities in one man, but ended up with just about 8 personalities come to the screen. The plot is blurred, as we just know that Kevin has 24 personalities from the stories that has been built by his psychiatrist Dr. Fletcher. The back and forward story telling is confusing too, as Shyamalan maybe tried to give us the breadcrumbs to the whole story, but still it tells us more about Casey’s sexually abused past rather than Kevin’s traumatizing backstory. We are keep telling that “The Beast is coming” but never really told why The Beast is hidden all this time behind all other personalities and why he suddenly comes to light. As the movie with psychological theme, background story should play the most important thing in the whole plot. Moreover, Bruce Willis cameo at the end of this movie hints that this movie exists in the same universe as Shyamalan’s other movie Unbreakable (2000). So, if they intended this movie to become an origin story of the villain for Willis’ Dunn, they should give us more thoughtful and more convincing background for Kevin’a character.
McAvoy plays his role perfectly, just falls into a confusing scenario, but he DID his job well with portraying some personalities. I almost instantly thought he should be given other superhero role for his muscular body instead of just sitting on a wheelchair and controlling a mutant school with his mind. I thought the cast of Anya Taylor-Joy as the abused girl Casey is quite smart too. Taylor-Joy looks fragile and sad in her pale looks, and you can instantly guess that this girl has gone through some difficult times in her life, compared to the other two girls. However, the movie should thank Betty Buckley for building the main plot line throughout the movie. Her Dr. Fletcher is the main character that helps us understand what really happens to Kevin, and later finds out the main problem with “The Horde”.
This movie is rated PG-13, though I didn’t see the clear reason until a glimpse of the end. But for a thrilling experience, you might watch this.