Movie Review: Split gave me split opinions

James McAvoy deserves 23 Oscars, one for each character he plays in Split.

January 26, 2017

Director M. Night Shyamalan is in the middle of a comeback after a decade-long streak of terrible movies. Starting with “The Visit“, he’s on his way back to finding a niche of well made, intense thrillers that don’t rely on the supernatural, jump scares and gore to terrify viewers.

Split is his latest film which focuses on the 23 different personalities of Kevin Wendell, played by James McAvoy.

The movie starts with little setup, because there really doesn’t need to be any. It’s a very simple hostage plot with a fun spin on it. The true charm of Split is how details are revealed throughout the movie in a way that keeps viewers engaged and thinking over the movie’s two-hour run time. There’s only one time this formula fails to deliver, and that’s the ending.

Throughout the film, I was keeping my eyes peeled for hints about Shyamalan’s signature twist. I had theories racing through my head about how the movie would pull a fast one on all of us right at the end. Without spoiling anything, I have to say I was disappointed with the final scenes. My interest started to wane in the final minutes, and the ending relies heavily on deus ex machina. Instead of wanting to watch the movie again to find all of the things I missed that were hidden in plain sight, like in “The Sixth Sense“, the main ingredient to the twist ending is information we’re never shown until it’s needed. On top of that, there’s an end-credit scene that will completely change the way you’ll look at the movie in a second viewing, but not in a good way.

Here’s the thing about “Split”: if it weren’t for McAvoy’s fantastic acting, it would be a less-than-average movie for me. The mystery of learning who is really in control of Kevin’s mind is interesting, but the ending could’ve been handled much better. If there’s any reason to go and see this movie, it’s to see the wide range of characters made believable by McAvoy’s incredible performance. It’s a shame the rest of the movie doesn’t hold up, especially by comparison.

Watch the trailer for “Split” here.

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