Saturday, 11 February 2017

Split film review

I went to see this on Wednesday with my husband at the Leeds/Bradford Odeon.

IMDB says: Three girls are kidnapped by a man with a diagnosed 23 distinct personalities, and must try and escape before the apparent emergence of a frightful new 24th.

In this M. Night Shyamalan (Sixth Sense, Unbreakable) written and directed film, James McAvoy (The Last King of Scotland, X-Men) stars as D.I.D. diagnosed Kevin who is being treated by Dr Karen Fletcher (Betty Buckley: Carrie, Eight is Enough).  When three girls are abducted, she begins to suspect her clients behaviour may be linked. 

The girls are friends Claire Benoit (Haley Lu Richardson: The Edge of Seventeen, The Last Survivors) and Marcia (Jessica Sula: Honeytrap, Skins), along with loner Casey Cooke (Anya Taylor-Joy: Morgan, The Witch) who was invited to Claire's party on a pity invite.  Taken by Kevin and locked away, they must trust each other to try and survive.

McAvoy is brilliant in the main role and as his various personalities emerge, he is mesmerising as Barry, Hedwig, Patricia, Crumb, Dennis, Jade and Orwell and absolutely terrifying as The Beast.  We are given snatches of his traumatising backstory through his sessions with Dr Fletcher and his conversations with Casey, the hostage that best appears to understand him.  Taylor-Joy is outstanding as Casey, who has a heart-breaking reason for this, which is revealed alongside Kevin's in a deftness of touch that is both illuminating and highlighting a duality of the human psyche.  Her character is haunting both as an adult and as a 5 year-old child, played by Izzie Coffey (Bad Girl, Cargo), where we see her hunting in the woods with her father (Sebastian Arcelus: House of Cards, The Best of me) and Uncle John (Brad William Henke: Orange is The New Black, Fury).

Two of Kevin's personalities, Dennis and Patricia have combined to ready the rest for the emergence of the 24th personality, The Beast, yet two others Barry and Hedwig (who is 9 years-old), fight to take the light and try to warn Dr Fletcher and help the girls.

In such tight confines of this cinematic universe, Shyamalan's supernatural overtones work well when they could so easily have gone the way of some of his previous movies.  The film caused me to hold my breath so much my husband had to remind me to breathe and it is a long time since I have literally sat on the edge of my seat whilst watching a riveting movie world emerge.

Two outstanding performances from McAvoy and Taylor-Joy and I am at a loss to understand why neither has been nominated in any award categories.

Don't miss the lovely touch right at the end, who knew that the humble toothbrush could convey so much?

James McAvoy in Split (2016)

Trivia: McAvoy broke his hand during production. He decided not to tell anyone and continued to shoot for 2 days before finally going to a hospital. When Joaquin Phoenix and the production couldn't reach a contract agreement, James McAvoy was cast in the lead. M. Night Shyamalan stated that shooting this film was the most challenging of his career. There is a special appearance by the director M. Night Shyamalan in the movie, he plays a security guard who loves Hooters. The director is renown for featuring in his films as a cameo role.

Tagline: Kevin has 23 distinct personalities. The 24th is about to be unleashed.                    10/10

#Split  #JamesMcAvoy  #Odeon  #MNightShyamalan

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