It isn’t very often that I would go and see an M. Night Shyamalan film, especially since the The Last Airbender fiasco. Not since Signs have I even enjoyed one of his films. But after watching the trailer for Split, and seeing the concept of a man with 23 different personalities, I was curious. James McAvoy is a great actor, and I wanted to see if he could pull off playing 23 separate personalities. Before I get into all that, let me first say that it isn’t what you might expect. You do not see all 23 of the personalities. Let me preface with that so people don’t get their hopes up like I did. I will say, however, that this movie genuinely and pleasantly surprised me.
The story follows a young girl who is kidnapped by a mysterious man (James McAvoy) and is held prisoner in a place that she doesn’t know. She quickly learns that this man has several split personalities, all of them completely different from the rest, and not all of them are inherently bad. Throughout the movie, you begin to learn more about his condition and his more prominent personalities as the story develops into a very supernatural and psychological mystery. I won’t spoil any of the major plot points, but don’t expect realism when you watch it. As far as the other aspects of this movie, the acting was phenomenal. James McAvoy may not have played 23 different people, but the ones he did play were done with incredible skill. Each personality had a different voice, wardrobe, mannerisms, likes, and dislikes. Each one was completely unique. There is even a scene where he switches from one extreme personality to another, and it is completely flawless in its transition. The other actors, though few, hold their own, but it is very apparent that this movie is carried by McAvoy.
In the end, the movie is fantastic. It greatly surprised me, and the story paired with McAvoy’s performance blew me away. It isn’t a movie to take children to, and I wouldn’t recommend it as a romantic date night movie, but I do recommend taking the time to go and see it. As I always say, you never understand an experience until you experience it yourself.