Welcome to a new series of blog posts where each Thursday I will post about a movie or something movie related. This is a place where we can discuss movies, plots, techniques, comment and share ideas on films. If you enjoy movies, these are the posts for you. I hope you enjoy these Film Talks and I encourage you to comment and join in the discussion.
To begin this Film Talk series, I’m going to start off with a good one. Split.
Written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan. Split is a thriller/horror about three girls who are kidnapped by a man diagnosed with 23 distinct personalities. The girls must try to escape before the emergence of ‘the beast’, the 24th personality….
M. Night Shyamalan is one of those great movie makers that creates atmospheric thriller/horrors, usually with a brilliant twist at the end that you just don’t see coming. He uses suspense, and lets the actors and dialogue create the ‘horror’ like feel to his films and it’s something I absolutely love about his films.
Six Sense (amazing and first really, super scary movie I watched), Signs, Devil (so scary and with a good twist), The Happening (not the greatest reviews but I really enjoyed it) and The Village (completely underrated and really creepy movie) are all examples of his work.
This movie stars James McAvoy who I think is a great actor but I was a little skeptical when I heard he was playing this role in this type of movie. However, personally I found he really proved and showed how diverse and how great of an actor he can be in this movie. He has a way of portraying each personality through movement, speech and even somehow in his eyes. There’s even a few moments in the film where one personality is pretending to be another and the way in which he acts this is quite remarkable. He made it so believable that you don’t even question who that character is. His acting really helped add to the overall feeling of unease and atmosphere this movie portrays.
**Little Spoiler alert**
Throughout the film we don’t really know why he has kidnapped the girls. We hear of “The Beast” and a ritual but we don’t really know what any of this means. Throughout the film James’ characters talk to a psychologist who believes in the phenomena that through Dissociative Disorder, a person can change their body and brain chemistry to each personality. E.g. The person could be completely blind but one personality can see.
Although this should be physically impossible there are real studies and cases like this. I have actually done a little research on this subject before the movie (I like learning) so for me seeing this idea played out in a film and to see M. Night Shyamalan take that concept and run with it in an interesting and quite disturbing way was fascinating.
**MAJOR SPOILER ALERT**
It’s not until the final 30 minutes of the film that we really grasp the full concept of what he has been talking about in regards to “The Beast”. In fact, it hits us, the audience, in the face. James’ character goes from disturbing and unnerving to full on changing his body and body chemistry to “The Beast” and attacking people in a snap. We then find out what he had planned for the girls. Of course in typical fashion, there has been one girl that has been focused on throughout the film that we get a back story on and find out she has had a lot of pain in her life. She, of course, is the one to escape and survive.
In that sense, it is like a typical horror movie. The strong, independent girl with hardship in her life conquers all. However, her backstory is almost just as disturbing as the movie and although she conquers and survives her kidnapping, the story is left open to interpretation on whether she can escape the horror of her real life situation. That, I believe saved her from being a typical horror survival girl.
I would love to hear your thoughts and opinions on this film. Were there any other techniques you enjoyed? Did you enjoy it or not? Let’s start a discussion in the comments.
Just one more this on the ending. Did anyone else get it? Why was Bruce Willis in the diner?