The 7th Art: Reviewing Split

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Written by Farida Gamal

M. Night Shyamalan

M. Night Shyamalan, director AND writer of the blockbuster Split, triumphed for his innovation and vast research; the idea of the film really did take our breaths away, but the execution was poor compared to the creativity of the idea. Bummer! Well, the idea was expected of Shyamalan, as he proved in his past popular movies The Sixth Sense, Lady In The Water and Unbreakable, that he could come up with plot twists which were indulged with supernaturalism and abnormal powers – even if they were a bit of an exaggeration. Split didn’t move away from this concept, given that the center point of the script is on a vicious beast.

James McAvoy

On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest, McAvoy’s performance gets a 15! Given the fact that actors usually take months to adapt to only one character, while this outstanding actor, right there, adapted to over 5 characters! He had every character perfectly portrayed according to shifting facial expressions, changes in voice tones, even hand gestures and eye movements; watching him in this movie was like seeing an acting robot that doesn’t settle for less than the best performance.

A let down is that McAvoy’s character supposedly had 23 personalities, but the fact that the audience was only introduced to merely 5 is offensive to the movie’s interesting general idea – a view that was also supported by AP News’ Lindsey Bahr in her article. It’s okay to focus on the most essential characters but at least give the credit to the rest; but the issue is that the pace of the movie is extremely slow.

It might’ve not been because of the plot, script, or possibly undistinguished acting (apart from McAvoy’s), but it’s because the storyline kept moving in circles around a certain idea and characters without adding any more events. Rex Reed, a film critic in The New York Observer, wrote that the director had an easily figured out plot half-time through the movie, because there were zero plot twists. But hey, suddenly in the last 20 minutes you wake up from the dead and realize how good this movie was; but after it ends, you realize that it was just for those 20 minutes!

 

On a personal scale, I think if this idea was made into a series, it would’ve been better; that way, there could’ve been room for describing all the characters fully, rather than the slow pace the movie suffered from, due to focusing on a few characters. Overall rating and review: the movie was creative in ways but dull in others, so it wasn’t much of a horror movie, but more of a thriller – even though it was meant to be a combination of both genres.

Split’s rating: 6/10

If you have watched the movie, what did you like? What did you not like? Do you agree/disagree with any of these points? What’s your favorite M. Night Shyamalan movie? On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate Split?

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