Starring: James McAvoy, Anya Taylor-Joy, Haley Lu Richardson
Director/Writer: M. Night Shyamalan
Running Time: 117 minutes
UK Cinema Release Date: 20 January 2017
On Friday I went to see the new horror/thriller Split, starring James McAvoy, Anya Taylor-Joy, Haley Lu Richardson and is written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan. I have to say that I enjoyed the film a lot.
The central character, Kevin, played by James McAvoy, suffers from a mental condition known as D.I.D (Dissociative Identity Disorder, also known as Multiple Personality Disorder) and has 24 distinct and completely contrasting personalities. When he kidnaps 3 teenage girls from a mall and imprisons in an unknown windowless room they need to find a way to escape by using some of his personalities to help them while avoiding some of the darker ones. They have been kidnapped by Dennis (one of the stronger personalities who is a complete OCD neat freak) to watch them dance while in various stages of undress and eventually to feed the Beast. They are in a fight to save their lives. Two of these girls are very well-adjusted while the third is a loner that comes with her own baggage.
I really enjoyed this film. Dealing with a mental illness and split personality was always going to be difficult. The main character has 24 personalities ranging from a pre-teen boy to a beast, some good and some bad. And while only 6 of these are shown (Kevin as the original personality, Barry the fashion designer, Hedwig the 9 year old boy with a passion for music and dancing, Dennis the predator, Patricia the mother figure and the Beast, James McAvoy expertly switches between the characters brilliantly creating 6 distinct characters with their own mannerisms and different tones to their voices. Watching the scene with Hedwig dancing in his room was a funny scene. I felt McAcoy portrayed the characters extremely well. These distinct personalities play off one another and exploit each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
He’s done awful things to people and he’ll do awful things to you…
Along with the story of mental illness and kidnapping is an underlying story of child abuse which one of the kidnapped girls, Casey, has suffered from early childhood. Anya Taylor-Joy plays this part well and uses her past experiences to take control of her present situation and use it to her advantage, therefore taking back control of her life.
The film is quite predictable but has some good twists including a very brief cameo appearance by a Hollywood star with a reference to a previous film. That said it was very enjoyable and I would recommend going to see it. James McAvoy portraying a man with completely different characters was a joy to watch, and he did it extremely well.
Split is in cinemas nationwide now. For more information visit www.splitmovie.com.