“I’m feeling much better now

“I’m feeling much better now

Reel Reviews: Shyamalan succeeds with Split

Taylor and Howe say, “The near non-twist doesn’t diminish the entertainment value of Split.”

  • Jan. 27, 2017 12:00 p.m.

Kevin Crumb (James McAvoy) suffers from dissociative identity disorder and has 23 distinct personalities vying for control.

Two of those personalities kidnap three teenage girls, in order to appease a 24th personality, who waits in the shadows, yet to be introduced.

We say, “The near non-twist doesn’t diminish the entertainment value of Split.

TAYLOR: I was pulling for this movie to succeed because I wanted M. Night Shyamalan to rise above the silliness of his latest offerings, The Visit and After Earth.

Wanting Shyamalan to succeed is equivalent to having his twist succeed, or so I thought before witnessing Split. Here is a movie that, even if it can be said has a twist, which is doubtful, has such a minor twist that it holds no power over the tale. Yet I thought Split was well written, directed, performed and captured. It’s an entertaining movie, a bit fantastical, but based in reality well enough to be thought provoking.

HOWE: This is the one I have been waiting for all year. When we first saw the trailer for it I thought, “Yes! Another Shyamalan movie.” I must be one of a few that actually likes all of his movies, except for The Last Airbender, The Happening, and Lady in the Water. OK, I like a few of his movies.

With Split I feel he has gone back to basics. It feels new and twisted in a sick way and you expect the twist at the end, you just don’t know which way it will go.

TAYLOR: I liked the performance of Anya Taylor-Joy, (The Witch, Morgan) as the damaged and therefore tough teen who fights back. Taylor-Joy can play a deer in the headlights or visibly plan a murder with the same blank stare. This is helpful when dealing with subjects we’d rather not talk about, certainly not be entertained by.

Some of the scenes of abuse could have been described using better dialogue (they aren’t demonstrated, thankfully) but the abuse is relevant to the plot. There was also, again thankfully, quite a bit of humour in the film, due to the weirdness of Crumb’s multiple personalities, ranging from a little boy to an old lady. The variances between these 23, soon to be 24 characters are where we can enjoy the true champion of Split, McAvoy.

HOWE: McAvoy, to me, is the best British actor we have at the moment. He likes to make strange little movies. Most can be found on Netflix, as well as the big blockbusters. I feel he is better and his skills are shown off better in the smaller hits. Check out Filth, it’s his best yet and most twisted.

I agree Taylor-Joy does a fine job in her role but I think McAvoy just steals the limelight. Very good movie and well worth the admission and popcorn purchase.

Taylor gives Split 4 improvised clubs out of 5.

Howe gives it 4.5 clothing designs out of 5.

Brian Taylor and Peter Howe are film reviewers based in Vernon, B.C.