Following on from my Unbreakable review, it’s time to look at the second instalment of this trilogy, Split. I watched this film for the very first time over the weekend!
Split follows three teenagers who are kidnapped and imprisoned by Kevin Wendell Crumb, (James McAvoy) a man who suffers from dissociative identity disorder, which means he has 23 distinctly different personalities. Usually kept under control by a dominant personality, “Barry”, two of Crumb’s more malevolent personalities, “Dennis” and “Patricia”, come to the forefront, both are obsessed with a 24th personality they believe lives within Kevin, called “The Beast”.
McAvoy is by far the star of the show in Split, unsurprisingly, and I believe it is arguably his strongest ever performance, you can tell how much fun he’s having playing these multiple personalities and he brings such a gravitas to every single one in this film, it takes a massive amount of talent to be able to achieve what he does, but he seems to do it with ease. Moments which could be seen as ridiculous feel very grounded and real through his performances and it makes the whole situation all the more unsettling. There is a scene in the climax of the film where we briefly get to see Kevin as himself, although it’s a fleeting moment you can see the burden that these multiple personalities put on Kevin, it’s a very emotional moment and it will make you appreciate McAvoy’s performance even more. I hear that McAvoy will get to play 20 different personalities in the upcoming Glass, which is considerably more than we see in this film. I for one, can’t wait to see what else is in store.
Anya Taylor-Joy leads the younger cast, as broken teenager Casey Cooke, haunted by events from her past that are briefly told through disturbing flashbacks. She delivers a great performance and watching Casey develop and change during the film is one of the biggest strengths, watching her manipulate and align herself with Kevin’s child-like personality, “Hedwig”, is great fun to watch and you find yourself rooting for her as she tries to find a way for her and her companions to escape the dungeon they find themselves in. I look forward to seeing what her character brings to Glass, also.
Overall, I enjoyed Split, it works as a standalone film but also does well on integrating itself into the Unbreakable universe. It is tense and unsettling throughout and I was hooked and watching with intrigue to see how events unfolded. I do think the film suffers with some pacing issues and the final act did feel somewhat rushed in comparison to the rest of the film, which is a shame, but forgivable as the rest of the film is solid. I’m pumped up for Glass now, and I can’t wait to see what the final instalment has in store of us.
I give Split a 7.5/10.