Holy shit. I fucking loved this movie. People fucking hate on M. Night Shyhamalan (MNS). Those people don't know what the fuck they are talking about. While I haven't seen all of his movies—this may end up being an upcoming project, who knows—wasn't interested in The Happening, The Last Airbender, or After Earth (I am ignoring his early stuff that isn't even on my radar [Praying with Anger and Wide Awake]), there is a lot there of his I fucking loved. As of now my tally is didn't really care so much for The Sixth Sense, disliked The Visit for a few things I felt unforgivable, consider Unbreakable god tier, loved Signs, loved The Village even though I was told the twist ending during the movie, and I fucking loved Lady in the Water aka “The Turd in the Pool” which enjoys a 24% on Rotten Tomatoes. Whatevs. Loved the first season of Wayward Pines too even though the end was the most unintentionally hilarious thing I have ever seen in my life. I know there is much hyperbole in this blog. This should be taken literally. I could not stop fucking laughing to the point that my female companion was worried about my sanity. Anyway, Split is a return to god tier.
Rotten Tomatoes Consensus: Split serves as a dramatic tour de force for James McAvoy in multiple roles -- and finds writer-director M. Night Shyamalan returning resoundingly to thrilling form.
Pros: McAvoy is an amazing actor. Phenomenal pacing (no time for bullshit). The “twist” is understated and fucking sick.
Cons: Some really uncomfortable stuff regarding child molestation. The ending, before the “twist” that is, is somewhat anticlimactic.
Disclaimer: HERE BE SPOILERS
|Remember that shit? Yeah, you do|
I'm in no way against spoilers. Sometimes I read a wikipedia article about a movie before deciding if I want to see it. Generally, if someone tells me something is fucking dope and has a sick ending, I want to know what it is. Such was the case for this one. When a coworker was talking about this and how awesome he thought it, he asked if I knew about the customary MNS “twist”. I had not. “What is it?” He was all, “I can't spoil that for you, man.” Generally this makes me a psychopath or something in most people's minds. But he ended up telling me after some goading. Split is in the same universe as Unbreakable. Shut the fucking front door, I need to see this shit for myself.
Did not disappoint. Near fucking flawless.
The movie, which I took basically no notes on I was so inthralled, starts with the kidnapping of three 16ish girls by this super neat guy named Dennis play by James McAvoy who has a buzzcut, glasses, and a button-up that is done up all the way to the top who sounds like Robert De Niro. Come to find out that this is one of 24 personalities that live within this severally traumatized and splintered gentleman named Kevin Wendell Crumb. The kidnappees, locked in a room together and then separated for transgressions, try to figure a way out of the situation, ultimately resigning which, if any, of the diverse bunch of “alters” could help them in this task.
This all goes on while Kevin's psychiatrist, Dr. Karen Fletcher, played by Betty Buckley who is lovely, discovers something sinister is going on via vague emails from alter Barry, a fashion designer, that is having his sessions with doc coopted by the predatory personality Dennis. Dennis poses as Barry during these meetings in an attempt to prove that everything is all right. Eventually she catches on to this and Dennis explains to her what he has been slowly getting at with the girls, that his new personality, The Beast, is coming and is on a mission to do some really bad shit.
Once The Beast actually shows at the end (there was some question on if that was going happen or if The Beast was fake or something), which Dennis and this female personality that run the show at the end say is to protect the innocent/child personality, it is fucking bananas. This ego is pure fucking chaos. This comes as sort of a shock. It's like, “oh, so this dude and the movie weren't fucking bullshitting us. This is indeed really happening.” Anyway, The Beast it seems possesses supernatural powers with the ability to climb walls, bend metal bars, sprint like a madman, take shotgun blasts like a champ, so forth, all while using the girls for sustenance. Yeah, The Beast is fucking insane.
After killing the two milk toast teens and his doctor, the survivor girl, who we come to find out has lived through some horrible fucking shit, gets cornered by The Beast and is a really bad way when we get to the first ending. This girl, played by that young blonde girl in The Witch, who lived through the fucking horror of living with her molester after her father died, it is revealed has been coping with this by cutting and has been doing it for a very long while. The Beast sees this and identifies with her and lets her go because she is wounded.
With the witness living and all, this shit is obviously all over the fucking news now. And that's when MNS lays out that fucking phenomenal second twist on us. Hear that shit on the Philadelphia news, where the movie takes place, in this little diner. Some lady at the counter is like, “this is some crazy shit, it's like back when with that one crazy guy in the wheelchair, whats-his-face,” and then there is fucking Bruce Willis's bald mug to remind everyone, “Mr. Glass.” Fucking sick. I instantly wished that I had seen it in the theater to have experienced that one communally. There is even buzz that this Kevin fellow made an appearance in Unbreakable which is plausible. And while that sequel you know is coming is likely to be shit with the hype already surrounding it, for right now, the idea of it is fucking insane. Anticipating the shit out of that one.