Sunday, March 12, 2017

Day 132: Split

This was my first time seeing an M. Night Shyamalan movie since The Village pissed me off lo those many years ago. I already knew about the surprise ending but I had been hearing good things and so decided to go.

The story is that three girls are leaving a mall when they get abducted by a man with multiple personalities. They are taken to an undisclosed location (that isn't revealed until the very end but that is pretty easy to guess) where they are held in a small stone room for the arrival of something called The Beast. Casey, the main character (played by the young woman from The Witch), quickly figures out the multiple identities of her captor and waits for a strong move to make. The other two girls are split between helpless fear and occasional bravery. The abductor, whose real name is Kevin, tries to spin damage control from his rapidly fraying roster of 23 to 24 personalities. There is Dennis, the guy who gets things done but is OCD and a bit of a perv; Patricia, the classy lady who believes in the gospel of the Beast; Hedwig, a nine year old who wants to be liked despite being kind of a dumbass; and Barry, the personality most allowed free reign as he is just a fashion designer.

James McAvoy does an excellent job in this movie, portraying each personality with a different voice and body language. He even has to pull the double duty of having one personality imitate another. He gets some CGI help by the end but before the arrival of The Beast, he is making the story work through sheer physicality. Anya Taylor-Joy captures the wounded intelligence of a teenage girl who has already lived through some messed up stuff before being locked in this room. Despite her tough talk and street smarts, she is still paralyzed with fear from time to time. So, strong performances and, I have to admit, some top notch suspense directing, add up to a very fun time in the theater.

I can't even really say who this movie is for. There is some gore, but not much. There is a lot of terrorizing but just as often, the girls get chances to turn the tables. If you like a good psychological thriller with a supernatural twist, check it out.

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