Movie Review: “Split”

Let’s just go ahead and start at the end with saying, if this movie would’ve come out 6 months ago, John McAvoy would be holding an Oscar at the end of this month. There! I got that part out! Now I can backtrack to why that first sentence would make sense. It didn’t make sense at first to me either when my cousin put that bug in my ear. And although I respect him for being in the business, and agree with his critiques of movies, an Oscar worthy performance from an M. Night Shyamalan movie is about as far fetched as Donald Trump becoming….oh wait, never mind, that actually happened. And this really happened too! Coming into the movie my guard was up and my doubts were sky high. M. Night has had a few atomic bombs since the STELLAR rookie effort of “The Sixth Sense.” That movie still remains his overall most acclaimed file to date, and rightfully so. The only problem with hitting it out the park on your first try is that now everyone in the stadium is waiting for you to do it again, and again. He released “Unbreakable” a few years later which was also a good movie. And then he must have been hypnotized because what he was releasing was not connecting with audiences or critics. It was either the movie was decent but it ended awful. The plot is interesting but its not executed. The aliens are dope but they can be killed with water. Remember that? Yes I’m talking about “Signs.” I think that was the most disappointing of them all for me. I still have nightmares when it comes to how ridiculous it felt finding out that these beings from another galaxy could be killed by throwing some arrowhead water on them. Like, was that supposed to be paying an homage to “The Gremlin’s?” Let me move on along before I get angry all over again. Anyway…..he was more hit than miss and we lost faith in him. BUT….one things for certain and two things for sure, the M. Night that we love got it right with “Split.” When I say right I mean alllllllllll the way right. There was not one moment that I felt that his directors hand was forced. It felt like a natural and seamless process writing and directing this gem. I appreciated how it opened up with the story-line right away and wasted no time throwing us in the middle of this mad mans mind. And it felt, brilliant. It felt good to be trapped in a thriller with this much to give.
This movie is fully developed unlike the half baked ones he’s been putting out. While him and all the cast did a note worthy job, it is John McAvoy who plays the man with 24 different personalities the way any actor would dream. The ability to basically play opposite of yourself is not something that most actors can do. If it’s not done right you risk the possibility of it coming off comical or cartoonish, but there is nothing even close to that in this performance. The look in his eyes when he switches form character to character reminded me of Jack Nicholson in “The Shinning” and a touch of Health Ledger in “The Dark Knight Rises.” There was a madness but also an human quality about him. You can tell that he’s bat shit crazy, but there’s so much more behind it, and you wanna see all of it no matter how bad it might get. The visits to his shrink, the personalities somehow alienating one another other and all the while he’s holding these girls captivate, but we don’t know why a first. There are many nail biting and hold your breath moments and they’re not overdone or just thrown in for the hell of it. M. Night took his time writing this character and John took that material and turned it into absolute gold. He was truly a joy to watch and turned in one hell of a performance. I loved this movie. I recommend seeing this movie. And I will be buying this for my collection. Do yourself a favor and see this movie anyway you can! Pay attention to each and every detail about this performance and live in just how amazing it really is. Oh yeah, there is of course a twist at the end that will make you love this movie even more. Thank you M. Night, you’re back on the radar.