Split is a movie that had a lot of potential but just wasn’t able to fully succeed in the end. M. Night Shyamalan’s last few years have had some ups and downs. 2015’s The Visit was received well but before then Shyamalan was attached to some truly bad films. The crown jewel being the Will and Jaden Smith vehicle, After Earth.
The plot of this film is pretty on the nose. “What if a person has alternate personalities and some of them are psychopathic murderers.” It goes along as you would expect and it isn’t hard to predict the inevitable M. Night “twist”. There is technically a twist but it is supremely unsatisfying and really does nothing interesting with the story of the film. Even sadder, there is a point near the end of the film where they could have easily ended the story. It would have been a ballsy and fantastically dark ending. Instead, the story goes on for about 20 more minutes and all of that momentum is immediately lost.
What does lift this film up is McAvoy’s portrayal of a person suffering from dissociative identity disorder. In a role that could have easily come off as cheesy or offensive, he plays it nearly pitch-perfect.
Rating: *** out of five
Starring: James McAvoy, Anya Taylor-Joy, Betty Buckley
Runtime: 117 minutes