THIS IS A SPOILER-FREE REVIEW! Split is the suspense-thriller from the mind of M. Night Shyamalan. It stars James McAvoy as a man named Kevin with DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder) who has 23 different independent personalities living inside of his body. Anya Taylor-Joy plays the other lead as one of the three girls that are kidnapped by McAvoy’s character.
While the lead actors were solid (and I’ll get to that later) I really found the supporting cast to be dry and not particularly impressive. Haley Lu Richardson and Jessica Sula played the other two kidnapped girls and neither of their performances impressed me very much at all. Richardson’s acting in particular, never came across as genuine to me. All of the emotion that she was portraying came across as fake and poorly acted to me and overall her character was just plain annoying. That posed a distraction in a few of the more emotional scenes throughout the movie.
Giving away as little as possible, I have to say that I was not at all ready for some of the things that happened in this movie. This movie gets real intense, real fast and I really just wasn’t ready for a few of the more disturbing things that happened.
The last thing that I thought was off just a little bit was the character decision making. I really ended up questioning some of the decisions that were made by the 3 girls because there were a couple of baffling choices that I thought should’ve been done in a different way.
The cinematography in Split is really unique and I found it to be really appropriate for the type of movie that it is. It does a great job in putting you right there in the room with the characters so you can experience the same things that they are. It feels very raw and that’s why I think that the cinematography really adds to the intensity factor of the movie.
The acting from the 3 main characters was a huge positive for this film. Betty Buckley played Dr. Fletcher, a psychiatric doctor that was constantly meeting with Kevin (or one of his personalities) to talk about how he was doing, gave us a very good performance in Split. The performance given by Anya Taylor-Joy as Casey Cooke, was definitely the best of her young career I think. Her role was not the easiest one to do well, as is evidence by the lackluster displays of the two other girls that were kidnapped with Casey. She felt very authentic and genuine in how she portrayed her emotions throughout the movie, and she isn’t too hard on the eyes either. Last, but definitely not least, James McAvoy was PHENOMENAL in this film. How often do you see one guy basically play over 20 distinctly different characters without wearing a bunch of different masks and wigs? He really had to commit 100% to every single different personality or else they would likely all come across as fake. I was truly amazed in how just by changing his voice and maybe how he held his head, the audience could tell between which of his personalities was taking the light at any particular time. It is really unfortunate that this movie came out so early in the year as it is unlikely McAvoy will receive the award nominations that he deserves for this incredible performance.
I ended up enjoying Split a lot more than I thought I would before watching it. After his previous few films were really pretty poor, M. Night Shymalan give us that kind of really intense suspense-thriller that we have been expecting from him ever since his great movies of the late 1990s and early 2000s. This is not a movie for everyone, but if you think you can handle it, I would say that Split is a very enjoyable film.