Just been watching…(49)

Split (2016)

***Spoilers avoided***

My stepson arrived for Christmas with a couple of DVD films he thought I might like to watch. So last night, we started with this one. I was immediately put off by the film-maker, M. Knight Shyamalan. Other than ‘The Sixth Sense’, I haven’t enjoyed any of his films. But it stars James McAvoy, a Scottish actor who was very good in the TV series ‘Shameless’, and went on to star in ‘The Last King of Scotland’, ‘Atonement’, and some X-Men films. So, maybe worth a look.

His character in this film is host to no less than twenty-three different personalities. Some male, some female, others very young, and one very dark and menacing. He is driven to kidnap three young women, one of whom is hiding her own dark secret from her friends. After one of his multiple personalities carried out the kidnapping, another seeks counselling from an elderly therapist. (A good turn from Betty Buckley) She is one of the few people who really believes in his multiple personalities, and has become something of an expert on that form of mental illness.

Back in the bleak series of rooms where the girls have been imprisoned, we are treated to the flashbacks of one of them, the secret-hiding Casey. This not only unravels her dark past, but later has some relevance as the story develops. They are taunted by the various personalities, which are kind to them, or threatening, in turn. There are the usual abortive attempts at escape, nothing new there, and frequent visits by the main personality to the therapist, who is becoming alarmed by his unscheduled appearances, and suspects a crisis. So the scene is set. Three young women in peril, a deeply-disturbed individual in control of their fate, and a kindly old doctor who hopes to get to the root of his issues.

There are some good points to talk about. There are no police trying to find them. No sub-plots about concerned relatives and detectives, and little or no back-story about the man with all those personalities to further confuse the viewer. It boils down to a classic ‘will they won’t they survive?’ psychological thriller, not unlike quite a few we have all seen before. It avoids some of the classic mistakes in that genre, but not all. McAvoy does a very convincing job with numerous accents, and is able to portray the many different individuals who inhabit his body without need of any special make-up, or extreme changes of clothing.

But like many films from Mr Shyamalan, it left me thinking ‘Oh, right…’ There could have been much more use of the many personalities, which are the thing the film hangs on after all, and I would have liked to have seen a lot more of the reliable Betty Buckley too. The three women have little to do save for being terrified, and for me at least, the ending suggested the possibility of a sequel.

Or maybe I just didn’t get it?

Here’s the trailer.

44 thoughts on “Just been watching…(49)

  1. I like the actor but I agree that the director has not put a foot right since the Sixth Sense (I don’t understand why people keep giving him money to make movies, but hey… it’s not my money, for sure). As a psychiatrist I need to switch off my brain with these kinds of movies at the best of times but… Anyway, I’ll take your advice and pass on this one. Thanks, Pete!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I did think of you, with the character of the kindly therapist/doctor. But it was hardly developed, and not integral to the film as such. Given your background, Olga, I am guessing you might find it annoying. 🙂
      Best wishes, Pete.

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  2. Pete, I’m not all that interested in watching this film. I did see M. Night Shyamalan’s “The Sixth Sense” in theaters, and returned soon afterwards, like so many others, to see it again. The only other film of his that I’ve seen is “The Village,” which I didn’t like very much.

    I have on DVD a film that I do like very much: “Identity,” directed by James Mangold, and starring John Cusack, Ray Liotta, Amanda Peet, Alfred Molina, and Rebecca De Mornay. It’s quite original in its plot concept, and also deals with multiple personalities.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Fantastic Review Pete! You really caught the essence of the story like you always do, my friend!😍 Yay!😊 Unfortunately this movie would be a humongous trigger for me. I didn’t even bother watching the trailer because I know I am not supposed to watch anything that depicts Dissociative Identity Disorder especially in this way that they can be so harmful and stuff like that. People with DID don’t usually get to this point but I guess there is extremes in everything ranging from religion to illness or whatever. What bugs me about the movie based on your description (if I was to watch it) is there is no descriptions of the main character’s past. Someone who has different alters/personalities suffers from the illness because of having an extreme traumatic experience in their life that causes their brain to split off to protect themselves. It would seem that this movie has inconsistencies with the diagnosis. I also have a question maybe it’s a spoiler and I shouldn’t ask but was there any of the alters that tried to set these kidnapped girls free? With this illness the personalities don’t really have contact with the host or other personalities. They are separate and there is usually only one to a couple that could be harmful under extreme stress if then so I would think the others would set the persons free and there wouldn’t be no acknowledgement of the other ones. Pretty much where I’m getting at (sorry for rambling) is the plot sounds completely horrible because if it’s mostly focused on the mental illness, you would think they would have researched it better and made it true to it’s symptoms in some way or fashion. Maybe it’s just me because well let’s say “someone” very close to me battles this condition and dealt with it since age 7 so maybe I am being sensitive to the subject and in that case sorry and sorry for ramble. I’m glad you are spending time with your family and I hope you enjoy the season. Best Wishes and much love sent your way!!!!😘🎁💖

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You probably shouldn’t watch it for many reasons, Dani. The personalities all seem to be aware of the ‘dark’ controlling one, and although some are kinder to the girls, they all fear him. Reading Michel’s news of a forthcoming sequel explains many of the holes in the plot, and the absence of background to the characters. But either way, I don’t think this is one for you, honey.

      Have a joyous Christmas,
      Best wishes, Pete. x

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks for letting me know Love!😊 I know that someone asked me last year to go see this and I got upset when I read about it. I was like is this some practical joke? Some the alters I have personally dealt with can be aware of each other but it’s more of like someone you knkw from the school hallways but not directly. They may talk shit about them but maybe the fear is because they are worried for the host’s safety because that’s their purpose to protect the host. I know the only one I have experienced is more of a harm to themselves and very angry but definitely not to this point. I have been to clinical trials for it and people with DID don’t get like this or if they do there is only one. I know it’s a work of fiction and I’m thinking about it too much but maybe like you said they will fill it all in later. I could never watch this and it sounds like it was nothing to write home about anyway but I can’t lie that I am curious of the main character’s background and how this came to be. I never even would talk to anyone besides professional’s about it because my family did everything to keep it hidden so I have to admit I am a bit curious even though this is fiction. Thanks so much for your sweet wishes Pete! You are an amazing person and blogger! I look forward to all of your posts!😘 I hope you have a wonderful Christmas!😊 Sorry about the rambling about this topic on your blog and maybe I should have sent it privately. Jeez my brain. Lol.😵

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Pete. Nice review! I watched this a couple months ago. I’m a big fan of James McAvoy, so I was attracted to his performance which was the best part of the whole experience. Maybe because I didn’t have high expectations with the plot I focused exclusively on McAvoy and watch him stretch himself like I were privy to an acting workshop. I agree, more Betty would have been nice. I would have rated it a 3/5.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Cindy. I came late to this one. Michel (below) tells me that there is a sequel, so that makes more sense. I don’t do ratings, but if I did, it would have been a struggling 3/5! 🙂 The same as you!
      (Mainly for Betty, and McAvoy) Best wishes, Pete. x

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        1. We do exchange presents at Christmas.
          But the friendship of someone like you has no value that I would ever exchange it for.
          We may not always agree, but the connection and spirit of our online friendship is undeniable.
          I look forward to keeping that going for another year, my much-loved friend among the cactii.
          Best wishes to you, and to all your family.
          Sincerely yours, Pete. x

          Liked by 1 person

  5. Honestly….I quite liked this film. It was very creepy and unsettling. James mcAvoy was really very good in his role(s😂), but I also liked the tie in to another one of Shyamalan’s films. Did you notice that one? Also next year a sequel to this movie and the one it tied into is on it’s way with the title Glass. Sorry you did not quite like it, but you still wrote a great post as always 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, a sequel, just as I suspected! Thanks for confirming that, Michel. Had I known, my review may well have been kinder. I didn’t notice the tie-in with the other Shyamalan film, so I won’t do any research, and let you tell me which one instead. 🙂 (I may never have seen it, of course.)
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Haha, okay no problem 😊 Well *SPOILERS* ahead 😂 At the end of the movie we see Bruce Willis make an appearance and he is reprising his role as the character he played in Unbreakable. This was the movie Shyamalan made right after The Sixth Sense, and it was a very good movie. If you haven’t seen that one yet, I highly recommend it. Next year Glass will act as a sequel to both this movie and Unbreakable. So there you go, some movie trivia for you 😊

        Liked by 1 person

          1. I don’t see it either. Guess we will have to wait and see the first trailer for it, which will probably show up at some point next year. Who knows, next thing we know he is going to bring that kid from Sixth Sense back :” I see dead movies….erm people “. 😂😂

            Liked by 1 person

        1. I’m sure you did! Like damn, of all things this movie could be about we just talked about and I say it’s not that scary. Well this makes it look pretty scary!😰😨 Lmao. But truly, if anything they won’t do this. Now for ending up in drunk jail, mooning police officers, flashing random cars while in the passenger seat and randomly walking around naked that’s more of my crazy ones.😂😂😂 Thank God they don’t have my ID sometimes so if they don’t get finger printed they end up with a different name in jail.😂😂😂

          Liked by 3 people

  6. Hi Pete, hope you are all well, shopped out, and hunkered down among enough boxes of wine and mince pies to get you through until Tuesday. I am Velcro’d into Wallys old chair at mums and feeling every second slowly pass!!! I just read the Bred for Meanness and found it fascinating and sad. By the time I finished I felt compelled to order his books. I will let you know what they’re like! Enjoy the break. Love to Julie, Keith and Olga x

    Get Outlook for iOS ________________________________

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Cheers, Keith. Love to your Mum too.
      We have almost everything – except – the mince pies. 😦 (They were forgotten)
      Glad you enjoyed Bageant’s article, I haven’t read his books.
      Enjoy the festivities in your Dad’s old chair. Fond memories mate…x

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