Split


2017 Shyamalan movie

Rating: 12/20 (Abbey: 15/20)

Plot: A crazy guy kidnaps some teenagers and introduces them to his various personalities.

To paraphrase Twain, reports of M. Night Shyamalan's resurrection have been greatly exaggerated.

I'll tell you who you can't blame for this one--James McAvoy, an actor whose versatility and dedication to this character (these characters?) nearly makes up for the sub-par material he has to work with. He channels Norman Bates, Travis Bickle, and Fight Club's Edward Norton, and lets all this potpourri of personalities run wild. McAvoy's compelling, the kind of performance where he squeezes every single bit he can from what he's given to work with. With characters like this, there's a fine line between realistically intense and hilariously campy. Here, he's actually somewhat in the middle, closer to realistic, and the movie's better for it because too intense would have made the whole thing unbearable.

Even an average performance would have made the entire movie unbearable. Shyamalan, with this and The Visit, is making movies better than he was a few years ago, but they still suffer from Shyamalanisms--first-drafty dialogue, unnatural character reactions, his own pointless cameos. He's still working hard to be a Hitchcock for the 21st Century, but his half-formed ideas and general silliness sink things.

I'll give Shyamalan credit for one thing though, and I suppose I should throw a [Spoiler Alert] here--he does have an interesting perspective on the superhero genre.

2 comments:

Josh said...

I thought you were going to mention my theory on Shamalamadingdong movies...

Shane said...

About the performances?