Friday, January 20, 2017

Split (PG-13/1hr 57 min)

He’s done it again!  M. Night Shyamalan has made another movie that made me question my way of thinking.  More to the point, he completely swayed my way of thinking, during the film.  And I didn’t much appreciate it. Now, don’t read that as the movie wasn’t any good because it most certainly was.  It’s just that M. Night knows how to get inside your head and hang on. 

Split is the story of Kevin; a man whose life did not have a great beginning and has developed multiple personalities to protect himself.  Not on purpose, but still.  And not just a few personalities.  23, with a 24th on its way.  His mind definitely should’ve stopped at 23.

James McAvoy plays Kevin and to say he did a good job is putting it mildly.  He became each of the personalities to such an extent that, by the end of the film, you could tell which he was just by looking at him.  In one instance he changes to several different personalities in a matter of seconds and makes it look like it’s the most natural thing in the world, to him.  You could see him go from personality to personality without him saying a word.  It was amazing…and a bit creepy.  The creepiest of all was the new personality.  Of course, the buildup of the entire film was for this latest addition but I really could’ve done without him.  I didn’t like him at all – you’re not supposed to – and a couple of things he did seemed to take away from the movie, for me, but he was certainly worthy of all the talk.  Yikes!  Except for the times the genius behind me kicked the back of my seat, I lost myself in this movie and James was a big reason for that.  His characters draw you in and leave you wishing you could get away.  Fortunately, for my future viewing experience, he didn’t creep me out so badly that I won’t be able to watch him in anything else without automatically disliking him.  That makes sense in my head, anyway.

Betty Buckley is Dr. Fletcher, Kevin’s psychiatrist.  I spent most of the movie scared for her.  I just knew something horrible was going to happen each time she met with “Kevin”.  I’ve got to say, though, that was a brave, brave woman!  Granted, it’s easy to be brave in a movie.  It’s not real.  But, you forget that while it’s happening and you just really wish that she kept some big, brawny dude with her for protection.  Or carried a gun.  Or had a ginormous, sharp-toothed, overprotective dog.  Anything than just her calm understanding to see her through.  She was a champion for people with multiple-personality disorders and seemed truly invested in Kevin.  I genuinely liked her.

Even though there were a few more actors in Split, I’m going to wrap up the character reviews with Anya Taylor-Joy.  She, like the other two mentioned above, made me forget that she was an actress playing a role.  She became Casey Cooke, a young woman with a traumatic, to say the least, upbringing who is coping the best she can.  She’s smart and resourceful and doesn’t really freak out.  I could have done without the other two girls in the film but they were necessary so what’re you gonna do?

This film is rated PG-13 and that kind of bothers me.  I don’t much care for the fact that the people who come up with the ratings think that this would be okay for impressionable young teenagers.  Yes, I know that the ones who really want to see this movie would find a way to see if even if it was rated R but I hate that it’s made that accessible to them.  I get that some of you may think I’m a bit off in that assessment but I still believe that teenagers are still developing mentally and things like this could affect them.  I have a relative who sometimes gets so immersed in a movie that it takes him a while to come back to reality once the movie has ended.  While that means great things for the movie, it’s not always a great thing for the person.  I hope that makes sense.  Following is why I think it should have gotten stronger rating.  My apologies for not paying attention to the cussing the way I usually do.  I got so wrapped up in the film that I forgot to keep tally.  I really don’t think there was much, though.

Sex/Nudity – Nope.  There was no sex whatsoever and the most skin we see is when two of the girls have to strip down to their unders.

Drinking/Drugs – Nope.

Violence – Yup.  It’s limited to mostly the end but it’s there.  Please note, here, that M. Night has done such a thorough job of messing with your head and pulled you so far in to the film that this affects your inner fears and drags you along for the ride.  Okay, so maybe that’s just me and you won’t feel it that strongly but I sure did.

I don’t know how to describe the next category without cussing so I’ll just say that this movie definitely messes with your mind.  M. Night is the master of “thank goodness this horrible thing happened so that something good could happen later”.  I’m trying so hard not to spoil this movie for you but I will say that at one point you’ll be glad that something did happen earlier in the movie.  And then you’ll be driving to work, the next day, and it will dawn on you that M. Night is such a good story-teller that he actually made you happy about earlier atrocities.  You’ll realize that he made you feel actual relief about that trauma; that it was a good thing that it had happened and you were so glad for it.  I wasn’t liking him very much at that moment. 

If you like M. Night Shyamalan films, this one should not disappoint.  If you like thrillers, this one should not disappoint.  The only people I wouldn’t recommend this to are young teenagers, children, my mom, and anyone else who can’t stomach thrillers/horror.  I will see this again.  And, by the way, I cannot even begin to tell you if there are any “tricks” in this film, i.e. the red items in Sixth Sense, because I am apparently not smart enough for M. Night movies.  I’ll just read about them later.

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