Review: M. Night Shayamalan’s “Split” by Brian Wallinger

Once dubbed the “next Steven Spielberg,’ director M. Night Shyamalan returns to form with his latest film, “Split,” a psychological thriller.  Shyamalan’s script is fast paced and delivers a nice tone, but does not dive deep enough into the main character’s history and is extremely thin.

James McAvoy is the highlight of the movie, delivering a brilliant performance as a man whom after kidnapping three teenagers starts to bring his twenty-three identities to the surface, the result of a mental disorder.  Some of the identities are only for his victims while others are for his psychologist, who is herself trying to unlock a mystery that none of her colleagues believes is possible.

The film does have its share of flaws, notably a thin script that relies on the performances, of which McAvoy truly shines.  The film offers nothing remotely frightening and it becomes unintentionally hysterical throwing off the some of the tension.  What tension it has, is delivered in spades.

Following a generic chase, the twist and conclusion make you think.  While I was hoping that Shyamalan would have delved more into what caused the main character to suffer as he did, he has delivered a modern day Hitchcockian thriller that would have made him proud.   After a string of misses, Shyamalan’s “Split” could very well still be the next Spielberg.

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