Hello, Spongey here.
Welcome to 2017…for General Reviews. I’ve done a project and a Scene by Scene Review, so let’s welcome another of my mainstays into the new year. Now, I was going to wait until The Lego Batman Movie in February and save my money, but I decided to do this, for a few reasons.
One is that it was the only January movie I had real interest in, which has to mean something. The other reason is that I have been marathon the films of this Director. See, I decided I need to catch up on the million films I’ve never seen and since someone’s already doing a whole thing dedicated to picking random ones, I figured I’d go by Director.
Normally I’ll use a randomizer but since he had a new film coming out, I figured why not start with him. But yeah, what can I say about M Night Shayamaln? Not much, really. For one, I’ve covered two of his worst films and went into detail on him there.
He was supposed to be pretty big but he fell from grace after a few decent films, but seems to be coming back. I’ve now seen all his major films up this point, I can say he’s…interesting. He has a lot of talent, as he can craft a solid thriller with decent human in there,
However, sometimes they can dull messes where no one acts right, trying too hard to have a style. But you all know this. Watching his movie did give me a better idea of his strengths and weakness, I can his films are in the very least always interesting.
Even his worst films give people things to talk about and they can at least be funny bad. I guess The Village is his least interesting film, but it’s still…okay, I guess. But anyway, with Last Airbender and After Earth, he went a bit too big, trying to create big epics rather than the small thrillers he was known thing.
He returned to those in 2015 with The Visit, which got decent reviews. And having seen I can say it’s pretty good. Sure, it has his issues like people not talking right, but it was mostly a solid little found footage thriller that also has mostly good intentional comedy.
It was a nice step in the right director and one of his better films. And now he has a new one, which, shockingly, is getting even better reviews, with a 75 on RT! This might actually mean he could make a comeback.
But we’ll see what happens with him going forward. Besides, who knows how I will feel about this. I was looking forward to since I had heard The Visit was good and I was interesting to see where they go with it.
The trailers made it seem interesting and from what I hear, it is. I have also heard of it’s flaws, but I think I”ll discuss them in the review. Since M Night does pretty much everything on his films (although he has more producers on hand now), there’s no need to go into the team behind it.
So, is Split be his comeback, or will it feels like The Visit was made a different, better personalty of M Night? Let’s find out!
This, is Split
Three teenage girls are kidnapped by a man with 23 different personalities, and must escape before he gets really crazy.
First off, this is a SPOILER FREE REVIEW. I may hint at the ending but I won’t flat out say it, because in this case, I don’t want to ruin it for anyway. Just STAY OFF WIKIPEIDIA, or any place you may deep info on the film. I made the mistake of doing so and while I didn’t find out the full ending, I was able to guess it when it would have been more shocking if I find it out in the film itself.
With that said, there isn’t too much to say. It was flawed, but mostly good. It was a very well made thriller with great tension and performances, but the writing has it’s weak points. I’ll start with the problems.
It has the usual small issues that come with Shyamalan films. Sometimes no one acts right, and the pacing can get rather slow, due to being a tad too long. Those issues aren’t huge like in some of his other movies, but they do exist.
The other main problem is a bit bigger. The main bulk is set in one place, kind of like 10 Cloverfrield Lane in a sense, but there’s some flashbacks and a subplot involving a Therapist. I understand why these things are here, but I think they are slightly mixed.
The flashbacks end up adding nothing and frankly get kind of awkward in one bit. No spoilers but …yeah. The subplot scenes wor k on their own to an extent, but they attempt to human James McAvoy a bit which ends up being pointless for spoiler reasons.
…And that comes with another Elephant in the room that I have to at least touch on. As you expect, some people are not happy with the portrayal of DiD in this film, which I do understand. For the most part, the film is over the top enough to not make people think people with it are like this.
But some elements can cause issues. They name the disorder and discuss it, giving the illusion of being accurate when it kind of isn’t. I get why it’s here, to perhaps assure people M Night knows what he’s doing, but they shoot themselves in the foot with that one by the end.
I don’t think it’s super offensive, and I do like the movie in spite of that, but I can see the issues people have. Just remember that M Night never portrays anything accurately, ever.
Then there’s the ending. As Doug said, some will say “That’s Brilliant!”, others will say “That’s Bullshit’. I think it’s…both. The bit before the very end, I thought was stupid and raises too many questions. Let’s just say I find the events hard to believe thanks to this reveal.
The actual ending…is kind of brilliant. It’s also kind of dumb and raises an issue but in concept, it’s kind of awesome in a weird way. No spoilers,but if you’ve seen it, you know what I mean. So yeah, the ending is a mixed bag and I can see it ruining the film for some.
Okay, onto the positives. M Night has shown he can direct suspense really well and this really shows it. Most of the time, I was actually worried for the leads and the tension of very real. You never quite know what James McAvoy will do next, and the personality aspect does lead to good suspense in most of the film. Yes, the performances help that. The main girls don’t have too much going on, but their acting helps them likable, as does the general suspense.
James McAvoy is of course very good. He pulls off each personalty pretty well and he helps add to the suspense. My only issue with him is that his voice for the 9 year old Personality sounds like something like Adam Sandler would do, which was distracting.
But other than that, I don’t think he went too over the top and had a nice balance of subtle and being a bit more. The best parts of the film are the ones with high suspense, especially when the girls are trying to get out, and stuff like that.
Thankfully, most the film does focus on that. The focus can be a bit muddled when the subplot becomes more important but even then, the suspense is still done pretty well. Even the climax, which gets silly, due to how they set things up, up to that point.
I understand if the ending, among other things, ruins the film for some, but I think it’s still solid even with those flaws. Those flaws at least make it interesting, and it isn’t too boring. There actually isn’t much to say.
The focus is on the main concept, and I commented on everything else it has, like the flashbacks, subplot, and ending. It at least stays simple in terms of scale, and I comment on everything…without spoiling it.
Yeah, this is a hard film to talk about once you know the ending and how it affects the rest of the film, but I tried my best. Overall, this film has it’s problems, especially when taking the ending into account, but it’s still solid.
The logic can be spotty, but they make up or it with good suspense and solid suspense. In the end, it is a solid and enjoyable thriller for most of it. And even when it’s bad, it’s at least very interesting and worth discussing on some level.
Where does it rank on the Shyamaln scale? Well, I liked The Visit and Unbreakable more, or in the least they were more even but I do like it slightly more than Signs even if that is oddly more even too, ever so slightly.
It is a better film for them and hits very good highs, but the issues prevent it from being his best. I can see some liking even more than I did, and some liking it less. As for me, I just liked. It’s fairly solid but certainly has it’s problems.
At some point, I will discuss spoilers in a Journal on Deviant Art, so look out for that. But for now, I’ll just that Split is uneven, but mostly another good one.
Can M Night keep this up? We’ll see, but he’s got 2 solid ones in a row, which is quite nice. I hope he makes a comeback, he’s got a lot of talent as I’ve said before. Oh, he finally brought his cameo back and it works due to being small.
Not a ton on detail on this film but I did what I could. I’m just shocked that we got a good M Night in freaking JANUARY! Seriously, how does that happen? This and Kung Fu Panda 3 give hope to January….which is good because the Goosebumps Sequel comes out next January.
2017 is of to a good start. I’ll be back in February to begin Animation of 2017 with some Batman. That’s all I got so..