Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Cast: James McAvoy, Anya Taylor-Joy, Betty Buckley
Release Date: April 18, 2017
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 9/10
Disc Rating: 7.5/10
Writer/director/producer M. Night Shyamalan returns with an original thriller that delves into the mysterious recesses of one man’s fractured, gifted mind.
Though Kevin (James McAvoy) has revealed 23 personalities to his psychiatrist, there remains one still submerged who is set to materialize and dominate all the others. Compelled to abduct three teenage girls, Kevin reaches a war for survival among all of those contained within him – as well as everyone around him – as the walls between his compartments shatter apart.
The latest thriller from the mind of M. Night Shyamalan; ‘Split’ delves into the world of Kevin (McAvoy) and the numerous personalities residing within him, each constantly fighting for attention and a chance at the “light”. When one of his more dangerous personalities is compelled to abduct three teenage girls with sinister intentions, the fight and conflict within his own mind soon escalates to a full out war within Kevin’s head as the various identities fight for their own beliefs and most importantly control as events promptly reach the point of no return. As his longtime psychiatrist struggles on the sidelines to figure out just what is going on, time runs shorter and the likelihood of the three teenage girls getting out alive becomes increasingly slimmer as events build to a terrifying final confrontation.
Written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan (The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable), the relatively well known filmmaker does a fantastic job at the helm of ‘Split’ guiding his own clever script along and providing plenty of tension and fun throughout. The film also owes a notable share of the credit to the capable folks who comprise the cast including James McAvoy (X-Men: Days of Future Past), Anya Taylor-Joy (The Witch), Haley Lu Richardson (The Edge of Seventeen), Betty Buckley (Carrie ’76), Jessica Sula (TV’s Recovery Road) and a few more, nearly all delivering highly capable performances at the very least in each of their respective roles, yet McAvoy nonetheless has little trouble constantly stealing the show with his brilliant performance(s).
‘Split’ takes viewers on a smart, tense and thought provoking journey revolving around one man and the various personalities fighting for control within his mind, along with the other folks unfortunate enough to be caught in the middle. The film kicks off with a bang and continually builds the characters and tension thereafter, rarely allowing the viewer time to relax before jumping back into the tension and insanity (so to speak). Filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan does an outstanding job guiding the twisted tale along, delivering what is easily one of his very best films to date with ‘Split’ as he constructs a gorgeous, intriguing and at times somewhat terrifying look at one man’s many demons and a building sense of unease that cleverly forms into an explosive final confrontation, complimented even further by a mesmerizing performance from James McAvoy in the lead. Shyamalan wisely opts for keeping things relatively straightforward this time around, forming a solid story that doesn’t rely on huge twists and turns to make it something special, yet that’s certainly not to say that there aren’t a few fun surprises within either. I would strongly suggest fans of Shyamalan’s work in general and anyone who appreciates a well constructed and executed thriller with plenty of heart and originality to try and make a point of checking out ‘Split’ when you have the chance. It’s a fantastic flick guided beautifully along by Shyamalan and featuring a noteworthy performance by McAvoy that is not to be missed.
Overall, ‘Split’ is an intense, unique and consistently entertaining ride focusing on one troubled man, the various personalities fighting for control within him, and the terrifying evil that has been set in motion. Filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan is back in top form, delivering one of his very best films to date in ‘Split’, a creepy, smart and fun thriller that is boosted even further by talented actor James McAvoy who provides a breathtaking performance in the lead role(s). ‘Split’ earns one of my highest recommendations, especially for fans of any or all of Shyamalan’s work, along with fans of McAvoy and anyone who simply appreciates a well made thriller that should have no trouble keeping you glued to the screen.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Split’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 2.40:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks wonderful as a whole and delivers a sharp, detailed and clean presentation throughout, with no noticeable faults to be found along the way. It holds up impressively even during the numerous darkly lit and/or fast moving sequences and never results in anything occurring on screen to become negatively affected or rendered indiscernible. Overall, this is a fantastic high definition video presentation from Universal that should easily please fans of the film and first time viewers alike.
The Blu-ray release features a lossless 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. This lossless multichannel soundtrack provides a crisp, clean and fairly active audio presentation from start to finish. It regularly utilizes all five available channels in order to send the music along with eerie background effects, crowd chatter, some action elements and more making their way throughout the various speakers when appropriate, and always making certain that any dialogue that might be occurring simultaneously remains clean and fully audible at all times. Overall, this is a solid 5.1 channel DTS-HD MA soundtrack that compliments the film quite well and shouldn’t disappoint.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Split’ includes a few worthwhile extras. Included on the release are an ‘Alternate Ending’ (running approximately 30 seconds in length) and a collection of ‘Deleted Scenes’ (running approximately 15 minutes altogether) from the movie, both featuring optional introductions by Director M. Night Shyamalan. We are also treated to a few behind the scenes Featurettes that take you deeper into bringing the movie to life and include interviews/comments with the cast and crew, plus behind the scenes footage and more. The included Featurettes are: ‘The Making of Split’ (running approximately 10 minutes), ‘The Many Faces of James McAvoy’ (approximately 6 minutes), and ‘The Filmmaker’s Eye: M. Night Shyamalan’ (4 minutes).