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"Split" Movie Review

Updated on December 25, 2021
Alec Zander profile image

Nathan is a film critic and aspiring author with a true passion for the film industry who hopes his writings will help launch his career.

Have you ever been captivated by a trailer and for months looked forward to the advertised film but then when you finally get to see it you are left underwhelmed and disappointed? Unfortunately, that's how I felt about Split, the newest "thriller" from director M. Night Shyamalan.I put the word thriller in quotes because I felt that it wasn't a thriller at all, but rather a drama with tense moments.

Split tells two stories rather than just one and I think that's what hurt the film the most. The first story we have is Kevin, played by the brilliant James McAvoy, who suffers from Dissociative Identity Disorder. Kevin suffered a trauma in his past and his brain formed 23 different identities in order to protect itself and a new one is emerging on top of those. Out of the 24 total, we are only shown 8. The 8 that we do see are remarkably well-done and at times rather creepy. The other story we have is Casey, played by Anya Taylor-Joy, who is kidnapped along with her two friends Claire and Marcia and held in captivity by Kevin. We are shown plenty, if not too much, of Casey's past but very little of Kevin's. There's only one minor flashback that gives us a cryptic look at Kevin's childhood but we are given at least five flashbacks of Casey's life. Just to be clear, I'm glad we were shown what Casey's trauma was but I think it could have been approached better. We really didn't need scene after scene to show us that she was a victim. It would have been nice to see more of Kevin's backstory so that we could get a sense of why he is the way he is.

James McAvoy's performance was outstanding. It's hard enough to train yourself to embody one character for a role but to embody 8 is something not many can do. If there is a sequel, which I'm sure there will be, I look forward to seeing some of the other identities. Anya also gave an outstanding performance, perfectly displaying what it's like to carry a burden that you feel you can't share with anyone else, not even your closest friends.

In conclusion, I feel that the film could have been done better. It was decent, but it wasn't shocking or terrifying like the trailer claims. I will say that the ending is surprising; not a plot twist that so many have claimed it to be, but rather withheld information that has come to light in an intriguing way. I give Split 2 out of 4.

© 2017 Nathan Jasper


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