That connection to Unbreakable seems flimsy at best.
Split is a story about Kevin Wendell Crumb (McAvoy) who suffers from DID and has 23 distinct personalities in him. After abducting and imprisoning 3 girls in his basement, here’s what transpires on-screen – a few prison break attempts by the girls, some therapy sessions between Kevin and his psychiatrist, the back story of one the of the girls – an outcast Casey (Taylor-Joy) and the consequences of unleashing the 24th persona of Kevin entitled “The Beast”. All in no particular order.
After spending years making substandard stuff, M. Night is back in form, using the signature strengths of his directing prowess to engage the viewers in his storyline. The long shots of a character’s reacting face, the lack of music for majority of the suspense-generating sequences, the show-not-narrate policy for character flashback – these generate an eerie atmosphere for this psychological horror show. The cinematography is top-notch. Most of the movie is set in an underground apartment giving it a claustrophobic vibe. Works in favour of the motion picture.
What doesn’t work is, well, everything else.
James McAvoy and Anya Taylor-Joy shine in their respective roles. McAvoy is a delight to watch with his 5-6 chosen personalities taking up majority of the screen time. Characters ranging from a 9-year-old boy to a superhuman animalistic entity, McAvoy handles them with ease, plays them with finesse. Joy gives a quiet and subtle performance – her character combatting catastrophic situations with experience on her side. Sadly, the premise of this movie does not do these characters justice. The plot is weak, unfulfilling and sometimes unnecessarily difficult to follow. Lack of tight scripting makes it seem like a drag in parts. And the ending’s connection to Unbreakable seems gimmicky at best.
Split does not unlock the full potential of these well-written players due to a not-so-well written storyline. But as a character study and horror thrillers go, its competent, well-made and a good watch.
Rating : 3/5