Vic's Flick Picks
(3 Popcorn Boxes)
Split is written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan. I am a big fan of his films Unbreakable, Sixth Sense and Signs (brilliant). He faltered a bit in The Village (a bit convoluted). And The Happening was just a total disappointment. Split is not brilliant, but Shyamalan comes so close.
Dennis (James McAvoy) has kidnapped three teenage girls (Haley Lu Richardson, Jessica Sula and Anya Taylor-Joy). The fun starts when the girls realize that Dennis is just one of many different personalities that are holding them hostage.
Dr. Fletcher (Betty Buckley) has been treating Dennis and 23 separate personalities (Dissociative Identity Disorder) for several years. I’m thinking her treatment is not successful. Buckley gives an outstanding portrayal of the consummate professional who gradually understands that she isn’t leading Dennis to a peaceful existence, instead he is leading her to see only what he wants her to see.
The story of one of the hostages, Casey (Taylor-Joy) was well written and acted. It quickly becomes apparent that the life of Casey is not sunshine and roses and the thought that perhaps being a hostage is a better choice is chilling.
McAvoy was beyond brilliant. He has always been one of my favorite actors, but wow. Just wow. He was scary, endearing, creepy and more – all at the same time. Where the story faltered, McAvoy kept me riveted. He is 100% the reason to go see Split.
Split spends nearly all of its 117 minutes building suspense and fear of what Dennis (et al) will do next. It is a slow burn, and at times I was tempted to just walk away from the fire. But I stuck it out. I’m still not sure if that was the wise choice.
I give Split three boxes out of five. I enjoyed the acting and the suspense, but it didn’t lead to a great climax – I saw the “twist” coming quite early. However, the performances were really superb, and it is almost as much fun to look for Shyamalan’s cameo as it is to wait for Stan Lee in Marvel movies. The film is rated PG-13 for intense situations and some language.
Check this week’s issue of the Frankenmuth News for a complete listing of shows and times.
I won’t be obvious with any X-Men trivia questions, but McAvoy has also done some great voice/animation work – including this charming 2011 nod to all things Shakespeare.
LAST WEEK’S MOVIE TRIVIA
You might recognize martial artist and Hong Kong action star Donnie Yen from this very popular and recent film featuring The Force. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.