Review: Split (No Spoilers)

By Angel

Movie Description:

“Three girls are kidnapped by a man with a diagnosed 23 distinct personalities, they must try to escape before the apparent emergence of a frightful new 24th.”

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Experience

M. Night Shyamalan has returned to GREAT filmmaking! Seeing the trailer for Split, I was extremely excited to see that James McAvoy would be collaborating with Shyamalan in what looked like to be an innovative direction for the genre. I’ve never seen a horror film explore multiple personality disorder as the main focus for the conflict.

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I was reminded with M. Night’s previous film ‘The Visit’ that he does a fantastic job at building suspense, creating bold performances, and writing ambitious scripts that make you reflect. I had an amazing time at the theater while watching this as I was on the edge of my seat, I laughed, I gasped, and lost my mind at one of the greatest surprise endings ever. (You must watch Unbreakable for the best experience possible.) This movie is definitely worth watching on the big screen for full price. Let’s get started!

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Story

I absolutely loved the story for Split because it’s a film I can watch again after the ending and have a completely new experience. The story had an intense hook which immediately engaged me because McAvoy’s character kidnapped these three girls. Although they were strangers, I cared for them because that would be my response to any innocent person getting kidnapped, it’s horrific. I was also absorbed with this thriller because I wanted to know why they were kidnapped.

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The conflicts of this narrative were brilliantly written. The girls had to figure out how to escape while also dealing with each individual personality of McAvoy’s character in certain situations. McAvoy’s character personalities even had conflict wrestling with each other for control, that was fascinating to watch. I even loved how M. Night gave a positive outlook on personality disorder considering that McAvoy’s character referred to his personalities as “coming out in the light.” Every obstacle was spontaneous and felt completely refreshing to this genre. The evolution of the characters were amazing to watch as they endured suffering which ultimately led to a strong and EPIC conclusion.

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Performances

James McAvoy gave an Oscar Nominated Performance which I think will unfortunately not be recognized at all for the 2018 Academy Awards due to how early this film was released. He played every single personality and emotion that I saw on screen with so much conviction that I really felt like I was watching REAL different people. It was even more impressive to me that he had his head shaved and only relied on vocals, gestures, facial expressions, and wardrobe. McAvoy did more with this performance in one single movie than other actors do within 5 years of work. He was immensely fearless, honest, and passionate. I was blown away with his extraordinary delivery, “etcetera.”

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Anya Taylor Joy was a unique intelligent heroine in this movie and I loved her performance. There was a mysterious thing about her behavior that I caught right away from the beginning and by the end I completely understood her character. She had this internal world that she built within herself which slowly gets revealed cleverly with flashbacks. Anya surprised me with the amount of depth and vulnerability she brought to the role. Her hardened interior, which is a very dark past, is actually what could be considered to make her very special. This actress has an amazing career to look forward to.

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Betty Buckley played a Psychiatrist who was soulful and elegant. I loved that she portrayed a character who studied the brain as a potential and not a disability. Their was a warm kindness with her presence making her the perfect balance to this somber tale.

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Music 

The music was exceptional. This is my favorite soundtrack in one of the greatest and most emotional scenes from the entire film. The music allowed me to empathize for the antagonist.

Cinematography

To me, great cinematography is when the visuals are contributing to the storytelling. A film should SHOW us what’s going on rather than tell us. When it comes to analyzing cinematography, simply, I ask myself, “Was this film nice to look at?” Then I can choose to get in depth and look for whether colors were symbolic, placement of characters in the frame, composition, lighting, shadows, and point of view.

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Was Split a nice film to look at…ABSOLUTELY! Mike Gioulakis created a beautiful claustrophobic atmosphere. My eyes felt trapped in the closed interior shots and I also loved how he managed to visually show me the differences between the personalities with the closeups; self-loathing neat freak Dennis, overbearing Patricia, childlike Hedwig, and easygoing Barry. I highly recommend those of you who enjoyed the look of this film to check out ‘It Follows’ which is also shot by Gioulakis.

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Theme

“The broken are the more evolved.” The main message of this film that I took away was that people who have suffered are strong. The core themes are abuse and power. Individuals can either manifest their horrors which prevent them from dealing with the problem, or understand their abuse and learn to gain the strength that could possibly end their torment. This story was extremely meaningful because it’s really about how people deal with abuse and it was interesting to witness how the “damaged” people interacted with one another. We can either ignore our issues and head towards a dark path, or learn to address our problems leading us on a better trajectory. As a result, Split preaches acceptance, compassion, and understanding towards others.

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Overall

Split is a wonderful addition to horror which is my favorite genre. My experience was unforgettable, the story was gripping, performances were breathtaking, the film was beautifully shot, music was effective, and the message was sentimental. I hope you love this film just as much as I did. My rating for Split is 10/10! (A+)

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