Saw Split last night with my wife. A new, original film from M. Night Shyamalan. That’s right, the guy who brought us The 6th Sense, Unbreakable, Signs … and then a bunch of other crap movies in a row. So, what’s M. Night been up to with this story? Why, exploring the fun world of DID – Dissociative Identity Disorder. Multiple Personalities, split personalities. In particular, our main character – who I’ll simply call Kevin, despite the fact that he has 23 distinct personalities living within him and fighting for their time in “the light.”
Kevin ramps up the movie in the first 5 minutes by kidnapping 3 teenage girls and holding them hostage as a tribute to The Beast, who is teased to be coming through out the film. We’re given a look at about 9 of the 23 personalities within Kevin, and given only a brief flashback of his childhood and hints of his abusive mother.
The story seems to focus on one of the girls as a main character. Casey has some childhood trauma of her own, which is revealed through several more flashbacks. She is, for the most part, the loner – and also the most level headed – of the group of abducted teens.
There’s also an outside character in the form of the Therapist that Kevin visits and talks about his personalities with. She provides our outside look at just who and what Kevin is, and gives us some of the more revealing dialogue that … trust me … will make perfect sense by the time you get to the last 4 minutes of the film.
And in all honestly, the last 4 minutes of Split is what you will have come to see. Split is a solid movie – if not a bizarre one – on its own. But tack on the last 4 minutes, and you’ve got fans of M. Night Shyamalan screaming, hooting, and clapping their hands. I don’t get excited at most movie endings, but as soon as the musical score begins to play toward the end, where a normal “twist” would come in, I just started elbowing my wife and stomping my feet. Heck yeah!
If you have fallen off the band wagon for Shyamalan’s work, go jump back on it. Watch Split and just take it in for what it is, then sit there at the end and absorb it for everything it REALLY is underneath. M. Night’s back, my friends, and he’s bringing his trademark filmmaking that made him famous to start with along for the ride.
While it’s a good movie, and the surprise at the end had me nearly jumping for joy in the theater, there’s still a few missed beats that the uninitiated might feel lost on. Shyamalan asks you to go into Split with an open mind, to be patient, and then understand what’s going on when he hands you the final piece of the larger puzzle.