Marion DeVore, Staff Writer
This last weekend, film director, screenwriter and producer M. Night Shyamalan debuted his film Split, a movie revolving around Kevin Wendell Crumb and his 24 personalities. The first scene shows Casey during a birthday party, completely withdrawn from her surroundings. The audience soon after finds out Casey was a pity invite, and is often in detention. When Casey’s legal guardian’s car breaks down, the father of the birthday girl decides to give Casey a ride home. But he never makes it into the car. Denis, one of Kevin’s personalities takes over and he kidnaps Casey and the other two girls in the car. Main stars include James McAvoy as the 24 personalities, Anya Taylor-Joy as Casey, Haley Lu Richardson as Claire, and Brad William Henke as Casey’s Uncle John.
One of the most impressive parts of Split as McAvoy’s portrayal of Kevin, a white male with dissociative identity disorder. While 23 other personalities reside in Kevin, there are four major personalities shown in the entirety of the film. These personalities are Barry, a fashion designer, Miss Patricia, a devout disciplinarian, Dennis, a strong, OCD male who kidnaps the three girls, and Hedwig a nine year-old grade schooler.
“You look at the list of who could play [the part] as it’s written,” says Shyamalan, “and it’s a very small list: who could play a child, who could be threatening, who could be funny, who could be poignant, who could bring emotion to it.”
McAvoy was able to portray each character with such emotion and believability. This is due mostly to a change in voice inflections, tone, vocabulary, facial expressions, and body language.
Split by nature is a very intense, violent and serious film. Hedwig is a stark contrast as an innocent child who doesn’t understand the seriousness of the situation. His actions, movements and lines bring short moments of comic relief into the film.
According to Entertainment Weekly, Split earned $40.2 million in the box office in the U.S. and an additional $5.8 million overseas, making a grand total of $46 million. Split also impressed the audience, earning an average score of 4 out of 5 stars on Rotten Tomatoes. Over all, the critics of Rotten Tomatoes rated the film 6.4 stars out of 10.
“Shyamalan demonstrates a mastery over the form of the mean and lean psycho-thriller, aided in no small party by the performances of McAvoy, Taylor-Joy and Buckley,” said Katie Walsh from Tribune News Service.
Overall, I enjoyed Split. I am extremely impressed with McAvoy’s performance. If McAvoy wasn’t able to pull off the multiple personalities, the film would have been horrible. The character switches are smooth and distinct. McAvoy in character is frightening, and rightfully so. He portrayed his characters perfectly. I give Split a 7 out of 10 stars.
WARNING: Split is an intense movie having to deal with kidnapping and other disturbing occurrences. The subject material of Split is dark and can be triggering for certain people.