Split

 

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James McAvoy takes on a new identity - to add to the twenty-three he already has...

 

    Split

 Identity crisis: James McAvoy with Anya Taylor-Joy

 

M. Night Shyamalan, like Brian De Palma before him, purports to be the successor to Alfred Hitchcock. In all his films, he also gives himself a featured role – unlike Hitch’s blink and you miss it appearances – but blissfully is not playing a leading part here as he did in Lady in the Water. As the title suggests, he tells the story of a man called Kevin with a split personality – 23 personalities to be exact, and fast developing a 24th.

 

James McAvoy excels as this mentally ill man, who one day kidnaps three teenage girls and locks them up deep underground in a bunker. During the day he urgently arranges sessions with his psychiatrist Dr Karen Fletcher (the brilliant Betty Buckley), who is attempting to put some sense into this deeply disturbed individual...

 

This is Shyamalan’s Psycho – with a hint of Vertigo, if you like. There is a scene at a gallery in which Dr Fletcher is studying a painting (Cézanne's The Bathers) – but the film overall lacks Hitchcock’s class and sophistication. One of Kevin’s identities is Patricia whose room is full of animal drawings – a nod to Norman Bates’ stuffed birds. It is an engaging film that keeps one’s interest until the end despite its plot holes, inconsistencies and silly finale.

 

GEORGE SAVVIDES

 

Cast: James McAvoy, Anya Taylor-Joy, Betty Buckley, Haley Lu Richardson, Jessica Sula, Brad William Henke, Sebastian Arcelus, Neal Huff, M. Night Shyamalan.

 

Dir M. Night Shyamalan, Pro M. Night Shyamalan, Jason Blum and Marc Bienstock, Screenplay M. Night Shyamalan, Ph Mike Gioulakis, Pro Des Mara LePere-Schloop, Ed Luke Franco Ciarrocchi, Music West Dylan Thordson, Costumes Paco Delgado.

 

Blinding Edge Pictures/Blumhouse Productions-Universal Pictures.

117 mins. USA. 2016. Rel: 20 January 2017. Cert. 15.