Movie Review: “Split”
Imagine this: you’re just coming out of a classmate’s birthday party at a local restaurant. A family member of yours is supposed to pick you up, but the car has broken down, so now you have to snatch a ride from this classmate and her family. You didn’t even want to be there in the first place, but it’s the only way you’re going to get home.
So, you accept the invitation and head out to the car. All three of you girls pile into the car and wait for her father to pack up the trunk. You hear a thud behind the car, but nothing seems out of place. Then, this guy climbs into the driver’s seat – and he’s not her father.
He pulls on a mask and sprays all three of you with a sleeping gas. Then, the three of you wake up in an unknown location, terrified of your unknown abductor.
These are the opening minutes of M. Night Shyamalan’s newest film, “Split.” The three girls, Marcia (Jessica Sula), Claire (Haley Lu Richardson) and Casey (Anna Taylor-Joy), have been abducted by Barry (James McAvoy), who suffers from dissociative identity disorder.
Barry, who goes from three predominant personalities, Barry, Hedwig and Orwell, shares a mind with twenty-three total personalities, all of whom wait in a waiting room for their “time in the light.”
At first, two personalities, Patricia and Dennis, control whom gets the light, and soon sweep Hedwig, a nine-year old boy, into their path. All three of which believe in a twenty-fourth identity known as the Beast, a superhuman being whom has the capability to control the world.
After the girls are abducted, the audience gets a look into Barry’s public life with therapist, Dr. Karen Fletcher (Betty Buckley), who has sessions weekly for persons suffering from dissociative identity disorder.
After their abduction, Dr. Fletcher gets nightly emails from Barry, who is in need of immediate sessions. Although she does not know the personality that sent her the emails, Fletcher knows that there is something amiss with Barry. When she notices that something is wrong with Barry, her usual personality during their sessions, she begins working to understand the personality that is impersonating Barry. This personality is indeed Dennis, one of the few personalities she has never met before.
The girls attempt to escape their abductor on many different occasions, but only succeed in splitting themselves up. Casey, the protagonist of “Split,” is the seemingly only level-headed one that thinks out her situation. Throughout the film, the audience receives flashbacks of Casey’s childhood, which play into the decisions she makes throughout the course of the film.
“Split” is an action-packed thriller that will leave students on the edges of their seats. From one turn to the next, students won’t see the ending coming, especially with a last second connection. Students also shouldn’t underestimate the importance of Casey’s flashbacks – everything in this film serves its purpose, even down to the smallest cinematic detail.
Although Taylor-Joy’s performance is phenomenal, McAvoy steals the spotlight with his different portrayals of his various identities. He hasn’t been nominated for any awards just yet, but with his performance, students will not be disappointed.