Two Minds of Opinion
By Kieran Daly
For actors, playing one single role can often be a challenge, especially when that character is extremely complex.
M. Night Shyamalan’s newest film, Split, explores the sanity and danger of Kevin (played by James McAvoy, 2011’s X-Men: First Class and 2008’s Wanted), a man with 23 distinctive personalities, and a secretive 24th which inspires fear amongst many of the others. The film itself feels much like the antagonist Kevin at times, disjointed.
At the start of the film we are introduced to Casey Cooke (played by Anya Taylor-Joy, 2016’s Morgan and The Witch) and the other girls that Kevin kidnaps. From there we jump to a flashback of Casey’s childhood and back to her and the kidnapping victims as they start to meet Kevin’s different personalities. Along with these two parallel stories a third is introduced in the form of Kevin’s doctor played by Betty Buckley (1976’s Carrie), this story segment is used to explore Kevin’s actual psychological state, and while interesting at time it can take you out of the real point of the film, which is the struggle between the kidnapped Casey and Kevin.
While the story and dialogue struggle at some points throughout the film, what really shines through is the stellar performances from the cast. McAvoy is on another level with his performance in this film, the 24 different identities all feel unique and special in their own ways. There isn’t a single dull moment when McAvoy is on the screen, if you need one reason to see this film it has to be for him. I would not be surprised to see him get some love at next years Academy Awards for this role.
Taylor-Joy must also be commended for her performance, she brings a believable fear to Casey that immerses you in her plight for survival. While most other performances in this film are forgettable, Taylor-Joy and McAvoy really bring this film together.
Overall the film is intense, dark and extremely well shot with some great performances. The film struggles with it’s pacing and story telling at the start but after a half hour or so it really finds its footing and becomes one of those films that people will be analysing for years to come.
For more films and shows like Split, check out the Macrobert Arts Centre’s website.