Image: Blinding Edge Pictures
With M. Night Shyamalan at the helm, Split promises great things before the opening credits even begin. Most of what the trailer used to suck you in has already come into play by the 20-minute mark of this film. From that point forward, nearly everything is new.
Three teenage girls are abducted by Kevin (James McAvoy), a man whose body plays host to 23 completely separate personalities. While most of these personalities are harmless, there are some who foretell the rise of something terrible.
Split offered the opportunity of a lifetime for any actor wanting to test their mettle; and James McAvoy certainly played the role to its fullest extent. While there are 23 personalities living inside Kevin, the main focus throughout the film is on three of them, Patricia, Hedwig, and Dennis. The complete and utter difference between these characters is astounding. For the most part, the clothes McAvoy wears in any given scene tell the viewer which personality is in charge, but wardrobe isn’t the only thing that changes. Each personality has distinct voices, speech patterns and body language. While actors often change all these things to suit a role, its unusually for an actor to have to switch between them in a single movie.
The most mind-blowing scene must be a segment where all you see is McAvoy’s reflection in a mirror. While you can see his head and shoulders, the absence of a shirt means that you can’t use clothing to tell who is currently in charge of the body. What follows is a conversation between three people, coming from the same mouth. Watching the way his facial muscles tense just every so differently for each character, you can see who is about to speak before their distinct voice is heard. It’s these little details that really make this movie a one of a kind experience.
Fans of thrillers, James McAvoy, or challenging roles shouldn’t miss Split on the big screen.