Well, M. Night throws out a few Kanye West references in his very good film, Split. So I’m going to try and review the film using one of my favorite Kanye songs. A few words about the acting and other aspects after this little experiment.
I miss the old M. Night
Straight from The Sixth Sense M.Night
Directing with soul M. Night,
Set on his goals M. Night
I hate the new M. Night
The bad movies M. Night
The hardheaded M. Night
Spaz in the mags M. Night
I miss the smart M. Night
Who wrote great stories M. Night
I gotta to say at that time I’d like to meet M. Night
See we invented M. Night
It wasn’t any M. Nights
And now we look and look around and there’s so many M. Nights
I used to love M. Night
I used to love M. Night
I even had the researched Unbreakable till I thought I was M. Night
What if M. Night made a film, about the multiple M. Nights?
Called ” Split, M. Night,” man that’d be so M. Night
That’s all it was M. Night
We still love M. Night
And I love this film like M. Night loves M. Night
So, after that bout of ridiculousness, this is an extremely enjoyable film. James McAvoy soars in a performance for the ages. The ultra-nuanced acting here deserves to be recognized and rewarded but as we know horror as a genre gets a lot of short shrift come awards season. The unbroken takes where he morphs from personality to personality by using a few facial cues are nothing short of remarkable. A lesser actor could have botched the film beyond saving. He goes from child-like innocence to the menace only a disturbed man can create with such ease that it boggles the mind as to why something so brilliant is not being spoken about with the highest of regards. Anya Taylor-Joy hits it out of the park for the second film running. This is a great follow-up to The VVitch and this young lady has a brilliant career in front of her. She is given a considerable amount of character depth and he acts circles around her other female costars.
The writing is crisp and clear. M. Night grounds the film brilliantly by setting it in a claustrophobia-inducing location. Plot holes are ground out to a pulp because the film’s scope is quite low and it does not leave the audience asking questions as to why things are the way they are. The score deserves a good deal of praise for being disorienting, a high recommend to find it and listen to it separately. The opening titles took me on a journey that only David Fincher’s opening titles do. It had my pulse pounding and really did set the tone for what was to come.
I applaud M. Night because he makes a choice and goes to some really dark and fantastical places with this story. It requires some nuanced directing and bold storytelling to do it and he gets full marks for handling the subject matter with the due respect and restraint it deserves.
The only downside of the film are the two “hot” girls and how weakly they are written and how amateurish they are as actresses. Apart from that one little gripe, I’m hard pressed to complain about much else. However, a small amount of shade will be thrown at the lulls in the film. It is definitely going for a slow burn thriller type film but it had my eye wandering a few times in its first act. When the film gets going, however, the momentum on it builds like a boulder rolling down a hill.
I’m glad to see M. Night get back into his stride and I’m happier to see the world building going on with this film. I will not spoil what this film is going for but by God, I can’t wait for the next installment. This is great writing, attention to detail (the 20 emails is just a touch of pure genius), brilliant directing and ultimately satisfying storytelling all rolled into one. If this is the M. Night we get from here on in, color me excited.
OVERALL SCORE –
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