Split (2016) – James McAvoy as 24 Personalities

Genre: Horror, Thriller
Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Writer: M. Night Shyamalan

It’s not a fact that there are so many movies tells about mental illness. The most difficult to make is about the multiple personalities and how the actor can play both characters in turn. After his success in “The Visit”, M. Night Shyamalan strikes again in this second series of the Eastrail 177 trilogy. The two personality characters have become a normal thing. It has been used as a concept in several movies. But, what if about the 23 personalities in one body? This movie explores McAvoy’s psychology what states and imagination in its mind.

Talking about Kevin Wendell as James McAvoy, he’s so great when having a deep viewpoint. Sometimes he is funny, terrifying, and sad. Apart from not of all, he represents 23 personalities. “Split” could only highlight the four characters. No more than that. From his role to Dennis as an obsessive-compulsive person, Hedwig as a 9-year-old innocent kid, Patricia with her flamboyant feminine side with his thick British accents, and Barry as an artist and fashionable.

Imagine if James McAvoy won an Oscar in this case where Oscar would provide 23 awards for one person in 23 characters. It’s funny, I think. James McAvoy is great at this movie because he’s really strong to portray those characters in turn. We learn about his character, past, and other diverse traits in him. But, the most dominant of all is Hedwig. I think he is the most unique. I laughed out loud every he changes of his character. But, this movie always keeps its seriousness. Sometimes funny but sometimes serious especially at the dance scene and others. His alter ego keeps him haunting up to fill those 23 characters in the same memory. We as the audience also need some imagination in order to imagine these characters meeting at the same place.

As the opening scene opened with the abduction of three teenage girls by Kevin, they were held captive in the basement. They were so confused because this man always changed his clothes and his behavior. Made him so weird. We learn about this movie and suggest, what is the purpose of this abduction? As the story progresses, the movie used a non-linear style. We understand how Kevin’s character relates to Dr. Fletcher as a psychologist.

Speaking of Dr. Fletcher, Betty Buckley deserves at this point. She can control the situation from Kevin’s character. She can guess his mind and trying to learn the characteristics of each character. The scene when she tries to guess who the character he is talking to is such a mindblowing scene. She knows so well the way he speaks, gesture, and characteristics.

Although viewers were focused on by the three teenagers at the first, the most notable of the three teenagers were Anya Taylor-Joy as Casey Cooke. Speaking about Anya, she is doing a great job in this movie from her calm appearance as if someone had so many dark flashbacks. Her expression was so afraid, but she did it together with James McAvoy. Yet, it’s not weird that I like to find it when her expression always astonished by something she sees. She’s often found like she only being silence for a few seconds. Not make any decision when she saw James changing his characters frequently. We learn about Casey why she can be so calm.

The movie will tell you about the differences between the current time and Casey’s vivid flashback. But, we immediately understand it as seen in the end. As M. Night Shyamalan often adds a twist at the end of his movies by combining a powerful fiction element, this doesn’t seem too memorable in such a way. The ending credit is my most personal favorite when David Dunn showed it as a cameo from “Unbreakable“. I feel like my nerd side surfaces from the ashes. This movie combines both realistic and fictional elements. It’s not what you expect but the plot is unpredictable.

The background is somewhat similar to “10 Cloverfield Lane”, “Room”, and “12 Angry Man”. In this case, “12 Angry Men” doesn’t apply too much but is the same as “10 Cloverfield Lane” with “Room”. Both used one room with the outside environment at the end of the movie. “Split” went on and on in each scene when Kevin visited his psychiatric and Casey’s flashback. The humor is likely and the thriller element is so dominating. Plus, West Dylan Thordson’s score maintains the suspense-thriller atmosphere. As if it’s more than a psychological thriller. There is some drama in it but not too much.

One of my minor problems with this movie is the pace. Maybe, it’s just me but the movie seems to have unnecessary segments. The conflict immediately explained at the beginning of the movie. Along with the interesting and main points. However, this movie always felt step by step. Two main characters besides Casey are also pointless. The two of them are forgettable. But sometimes, they were the most focused on. It barely makes this movie feel less important in these matters.

“Split” is one interesting point to put inside. James McAvoy as 23 personalities deserves an award as a lead actor. The problem is the rest of the characters are not too explained. Anya Taylor-Joy was so superb along with Betty Buckley as a side plot. They both seemed to have their own story for James McAvoy. They performed an important role in each of them. “It’s not as memorable when talking about a twist. I don’t find things like those but this movie is such an absolute trick that M. Night Shyamalan has directed.