Split – 4/5 – Movie Reviews by Ry!

Split – 4/5 – The turning tides of the world that put a splendid display of creative and psychotic thoughts into an original array of entertainment.  The unique draw of combining fear, terror and depth brings out a surprising result that will make an audience talk about it for days.  Precisely speaking; I’m talking about the film Split.  Billed with the ideal premise as a psychological thriller; this film goes deeper within the idea of believing in something more innate.  In an overall sense; Split is a definite entertaining thriller.  On the other hand, it shows that with new chances, a director can give you reasons to watch his provoking tales again.

Premise:  Three girls are kidnapped by an estranged man.  As they discover the many personalities on display, they must try to escape before they are witness to the horror that is The Beast.

There are only a few characters in this film, but I recommend referring to the IMDb page for further information on them.  I am only going to focus on the main character; played by well-known actor James McAvoy.  In the main role; McAvoy puts on display a wide array of charm, pizzazz and truly amazing acting.  Having to bring out the personification of a man who is diagnosed with having 23 different personalities; you get to see what it means to have true range as an actor.  He gives you true depth when putting on display the many facades of the people that live within one person’s mind.  No matter if it is the ‘womanly’ figure of Patricia, An OCD oriented figure of Dennis, the suave but enchanting Barry or the innocence nine-year-old in Hedwig; you see truly distinct characters.  Through the mixture of indifference; the display is very unique to the story at hand.  The ‘edge of your seat’ feeling he exudes emotionally and physically is brought through dialogue and riddles.  You never really know the true depth of his intentions; blending the ideals of what is right and evil together.  At the same time, you have a dire feeling of empathy in his individualistic flaws.  The characterization provides a window into the harden of beliefs; one that drives McAvoy’s character to creating a catalog of personalities.  No matter which one you get to see, you’re truly of the belief that this man is really psychotic.

The direction is one that unfolds in a traditional sense of a thriller.  You are given the characters important to the script; the situation and then forward motion of the plot.  This leans upon the concept of captives within an ominous outlook of surviving.  From here, the film does a complete swerve.  It builds upon the premise of the disorder that is part of McAvoy’s character.  The film then moves through a mixture of characterization, thematic detail and mood invocation.  With a layering of an emotionally rich main character, you are left to wonder what is his true purpose of keeping the girls ‘hostage’ and putting them through psychological hell.  There’s subtle references to a ‘Beast’ with little to nothing of proof or discovery.  This kind of ‘loose evidence’ provides the fuel for true tension.  On top of the endearing psychological directives, character analysis and tension; you are witness to the ancillary characters that don’t fall into the typical ‘hysteria’ horror tropes.  None of them make those ‘obvious’ terrible decisions; as they actually try to either make a legit plan to escape or reason out what is the intention of the captor.  This ‘back and forth’ between McAvoy and his captives helps push forward the unpredictable feeling of what is really going to happen.  It is a brooding sensation that becomes evident in the creativeness of bending the ‘thriller/horror’ archetypes to something of a dramatic character study.  It helps bring to light how (if given creative licensing) a director can push the envelope of the eerie while also being thought provoking.  Once the film heads into the final act; it takes another daring chance at putting the unbelievable on display.  This brings about even more tense moments; but one that will either make the audience fall into a questionable gaze or become mesmerized by the world on display.  Once the film ends on a certain ‘pivotal’ scene; all the adherence to what was on display provides context that there is more to the world than just the characters at hand.  It is one that will make you see through the conventions of common techniques for a unique appeal of what it means to be truly ambiguous in the end.

The visuals are an ironic complexion of itself.  There is a sense of keeping everything to a typical ‘claustrophobic’ feeling, but that stationary aura helps add to the depth of the tone and characters.  With the film taking place (mostly) in the lair of the captive, you are left to the driving force of McAvoy’s character.  This helps bring a purpose to all that surrounds the characters.  The score is very seldom used; but it is one that has an impact when it does come on.

Split is a film that goes beyond the typical thriller clichés and becomes much more of an amazing roller coaster ride.  There is something crazy about what is going on; but you’re drawn into without no means to escape.  If you’re a fan of truly tense and crazy thrillers; this is one for you.  You will not be disappointed; it is worth the full price of admission.

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