Alright,
it’s time to kick off 2017, and what better way to do it than a great
new M. Night Shyamalan movie! Yep, I just said those words. Shyamalan
has had an insane roller coaster ride of a career so far, starting with
the classic ‘Sixth Sense’, followed by a couple of my favorite movies of
all time (Unbreakable, Signs) and then a gradual drop off into dud-land
(Lady in the Water, The not-much Happening, and objectively terrible
‘The Last Airbender’). There was a time soon after that when everybody
seemed to accept that Shyamalan was probably done being “the next
Hitchcock/Spielberg” as some critics called him early on. Then in 2015,
he put out a little Blumhouse Productions film called ‘The Visit’. Now,
in all fairness, I have yet to see this one, but most people agree that
it’s a small, fun return-to-form for Shyamalan. Could he actually come
back from the staggering lows of ‘Airbender’ and (how did I almost
forget) the smash hit, ‘After Earth’? Turns out, the answer to that is a
resounding YES.

The
plot of this movie is something I’ve got to tread carefully around, for
reasons you’ll probably come to understand. Three girls (Anya
Taylor-Joy, Jessica Sula, and Haley Lu Richardson) are about to go home
from a birthday party when a strange man named Kevin (James McAvoy) gets
into the car with them, drugs them, and takes them to a secluded,
windowless building. It’s revealed soon after, that this setup isn’t quite
what it seems, nor is the kidnapper quite what the girls expected.
Taylor-Joys character Casey is the protagonist, and early on we get the
feeling that she has a leg up on the situation, egging the other girls
to stay calm and wait until they figure out exactly what this guy wants.
The entire movie is a kind of mystery-thriller, slowly feeding more and
more information until the entire puzzle fits together in a satisfying,
emotionally resonant conclusion for the characters. I didn’t expect the
movie to go where it did with them, but was happily surprised when it
got there.

If
there’s one thing that makes this movie truly shine, it’s James McAvoy.
He’s seriously swinging for the fences (and knocking it out of the park, to bring that metaphor on around to home base) the entire run time of Split.
Playing around 5-6 characters, each one with subtle nuances, strengths
and flaws, McAvoy makes the character of Kevin (or ‘vessel’ of Kevin, for that
matter) sympathetic, hilarious, terrifying, and so much more. It’s a
seriously bold performance, that I’m sure will inspire plenty of think
pieces on it’s misuse of mental illness, but that I hope gets him some
kind of award recognition. Beyond him, Anya Taylor-Joy further proves
that she’s an actress to keep an eye on, playing Casey with an
understated, quiet pain under the surface, and intelligence to spare.
With all that said, it’s about time we get to the ending…

IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THIS MOVIE, STOP READING. DRAG THAT CURSOR OF YOURS RIGHT ON UP TO THAT ‘X’ AND CLICK IT. SERIOUSLY…

K, SERIOUSLY. LAST WARNING…

**SPOILERS FOR THE ENDING OF SPLIT**

MAAAAN,
DID I LOVE IT. So I knew something was going on when that James Newton
Howard score swelled up in the last shot of ‘The Hoard’. It’s honestly one of my favorite movie melodies
of all time, and while I first thought “hmm, he’s using Unbreakable’s
music again. No complaints here, I love that soundtrack!” Quickly after,
is the diner scene, and the music is still playing… Then, the slow realization
that THIS IS A DAMN SEQUEL/SIDEQUEL/SECRETQUEL/WHATEVERQUEL TO
UNBREAKABLE. I honestly can’t tell you the last time a ‘twist’ like that
made me as happy as this one did. While most everyone around us in the
theater sat puzzled- “who is Mr. Glass? Why the hell is Bruce Willis in
this?” I was losing it. I’ve honestly thought about a potential sequel
to Unbreakable and what that would be like ever since I first saw it,
some 15 years ago or so. The fact that it’s all happening (insert Ron
Paul gif here) blows my mind with anticipation for what Shyamalan has
planned for this series next. David Dunn vs Kevin has so much potential,
especially with Samuel L Jackson’s Mr. Glass as the potential
mastermind pulling their strings. I didn’t know until the last few
seconds of Split that this was the movie I’ve been waiting for over a
decade. I can’t wait to see where M. Night takes the ‘Shyamalaniverse’
next.

Alright,
so I hope none of you guys or gals just spoiled the ending for
yourselves. Another thing I realized after I saw Split, is this movie doesn’t
so much have a ‘twist’, as much as it’s an actual ‘twist movie’. The end drives you to re-contextualize the entire movie that came before it. The only bummer, is that a LOT of people just aren’t going to even ‘get’ the ending,
having not seen Unbreakable. Maybe that’s what makes it even more
special? The fact that only the specific group (however large or small)
of people who’ve seen Unbreakable can really appreciate the ending.
Either way, I loved it. Not only just that, but the movie was great
overall, regardless of how it all wrapped up. If you have some thoughts
on Split, the ending, or anything else you want to talk about, hit me up
on here or Facebook. Pretty soon, I’ll be checking out John Wick and
might finally write about Silence, which I’ve been thinking about for
weeks. As always, I appreciate you stopping by the blog, telling/sharing
with your friends, and reading, so thank you!

 

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