James McAvoy has fun in his latest role as the many incarnations of Kevin Wendell Crumb in M. Night Shyamalan’s thriller ‘Split’. Kevin harbours many personalities who all ‘sit on chairs’ within his mind waiting for their ‘turn in the light’. However, there are some that should never gain power as the consequences to both Kevin and others could be devastating.
Three teenage girls are abducted by ‘Dennis,’ one of 23 personalities residing within Kevin. The terrified teens are kept in what appears to be a basement while Dennis’ sinister intentions looming over them. The outsider of the three girls, Casey (Anya Taylor-Joy), seems to have a better handle on how to deal with this unstable character while the other two Claire (Haley Lu Richardson), Marcia (Jessica Sula) are far more hysterical.
It’s not long before we meet Patricia, another person living in Kevin’s body. This seemingly mild mannered middle aged lady is not the maternal saviour we may have hoped for. Then there’s Hedwig, a sweet and innocent child personality who may just hold the key to the girls escape if only Casey can get through to him. Meanwhile, Kevin’s psychiatrist, Dr. Karen Fletcher (Betty Buckley) has been receiving emails from one of Kevin’s dominant personalities seemingly asking for help but at each meeting he backs down and says everything is fine. Her suspicions are raised and she begins to keep a close eye on his activities.
McAvoy is truly excellent playing these many characters bringing to the screen these chilling, comedic and downright terrifying personalities. Anya Taylor-Joy as Casey has a lot of subtext to play with and she gives a strong and powerful performance here.
Shyamalan is back and has made an accomplished thriller encompassing humour, suspense and nice little twists and turns that give his character’s depth and the audience a good ol’ jump or two. His direction provides for a constant tease of who will win during this cat and mouse game culminating in a nail-biting finale. Fans of Shyamalan’s early work are gonna love this movie. This is a return to form after the disappointing ‘The Last Air Bender’ and ‘After Earth’ and don’t even get me started on ‘The Happening’.
Split will keep you captive and entertained throughout. Check it out in cinemas now
Reviewed by Ingrid Grenar