Review: Split Is M. Night Shyamalan’s Last Gasp Of Relevency
Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Summary: After three girls are kidnapped by a man with 24 distinct personalities they must find some of the different personalities that can help them while running away and staying alive from the others.
M. Night Shyamalan is a joke. After he delivered The Visit two years ago and it was a dumpster fire, there was hope that maybe, just maybe, he would go away. That doesn’t appear to be the case as we go into 2017 and are greeted with a new Shyamalan movie. This is a man who has made precisely two and a half good movies over the span of a decade. However, those first two were so good that people have been giving him a pass for years. Then After Earth came and we all thought that, finally, investors will go savy. Then he managed to turn a profit for The Visit so they gave him another chance. What Shyamalan did with that chance is make one of the worst movies I have ever seen.
Split is not only offensive with its premise, the actual movie is as all over the place with the supposed personalities of the main character.
There is ample evidence that Shyamalan has a real problem with people with mental illness. The Visit’s primary antagonists were mental patients (spoiler alert) and Split is the same. Both of these movies do the same thing for people who are mentally ill; it promotes a stigma. This is like an action movie using PTSD to explain why a guy blows away an entire room, a schizophrenic being the murderer in a mystery film and in the Shyamalan movies it means that mentally ill people are dangerous and should be avoided. Those of us that are mentally ill have enough problems dealing with day to day life so we don’t need directors like Shyamalan making us all look like we’re two steps away from murdering everyone around us.
While we’re on the subject of the mentally ill let’s also talk about how “rape-y” this movie is. As someone who couldn’t make it through an episode of Game of Thrones this movie made me extremely angry, and it’s been awhile since felt like this. There are three young women with two of them wearing much more revealing clothing than the third. As the movie goes on, our villain (his character has too many names so we’ll just refer to him as the actor who played him) James McAvoy keeps having the girls remove pieces of clothing. One of the personalities is supposedly a nine year old who demands a kiss from our heroine Casey (Anya Taylor-Joy) and sneaks into the room she’s in to cuddle and sleep with her without her consent. While the movie never outright shows a rape the symbolism is there and sexual assault becomes a main plot point that won’t be spoiled here.
That is another reason people tend to see Shyamalan movies; what sort of new twist is he going to think of next. The various twists in his movies have become such a staple of his plot writing that it’s just expected that there will be one in his movies. They have also been progressively getting dumber and dumber since The Sixth Sense. The big twist here, which I won’t reveal, is one of the most desperate things I’ve seen on film in years. This is probably one of the first times I’ve truly seen someone who has fallen from grace try to latch onto something good to try and bring himself back up. There are going to be people who are going to tell you that this twist is worth it; it isn’t. There isn’t a twist in the world that could justify what is put on the screen and by the end I was gobsmacked at what I just watched.
Split is a movie that left me angrier than I’ve been in a long time. While it did provoke a reaction, a very strong one I might add, that doesn’t mean it’s worthwhile. From the way it portrays mental health to the absolute garbage ending that is wrong on about fifty different levels, Split is the type of movie that makes me see red.