Review: ‘Split’ Actor Deserves Academy Award

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James McAvoy plays Kevin, a man battling for control over 24 different personalities in M. Night Shyamalan’s “Split”

Move over Casey Affleck, Andrew Garfield, Ryan Gosling, Denzel Washington and Viggo Mortenson, there should be a new contender for the Best Actor Academy Award.

Yes, James McAvoy deserves the award for brilliantly portraying over 20 characters trapped within the body of Kevin in M. Night Shyamalan’s newest, and best-ever, film “Split.”

This film is arguably the best psycho-thriller since “Silence of the Lambs (1991).”

In fact, this film basically takes the chemistry that makes “Silence of the Lambs” such a good film, and makes it its own.

The main antagonist of the film is, weirdly, the one who you seem to be cheering on throughout the entire film.

Kevin is very akin to Hannibal Lecter. That is, the antagonist of the film is the one whose acting captivates you and really solidifies the plot and strength of the characters in the film.

However, the protagonists of “Split,” were generally bland and dull in respect to acting. Casey (Anya Taylor-Joy),  Marcia (Jessica Sula) and Claire (Haley Lu Richardson) were generally panic-stricken victims who cried and allowed Kevin to do whatever he wanted to them as they were afraid. Casey, though, did this with intent as she has prior experiences with abuse. Kevin is main driver of the plot, however.

Props to M. Night Shyamalan, as this truly was the best film he has made thus far. It was a definite improvement from “The Last Airbender.”

Critique

The remainder of this story will contain spoilers.

Throughout the film, Kevin discusses a 24th personality he may have inside of him, one that he calls the Beast. The film alludes to Kevin’s past history of liking to see young women dance in the nude, which leads the audience toward the beginning of the film to believe he is some form of a rapist or pedophile.

Unfortunately, the film literally turns him into a man-eating “beast” which really took away from the plot. It made a far-fetched situation that seems unreal and straight out of Hollywood.

Really, the film would have been much better and spoke to the qualms of a real life situation if Kevin had turned out to be a real-life monster instead of a fictitious cannibal.

Another drawback on the film was Kevin’s frequent visits to his psychiatrist, Dr. Fletcher (Betty Buckley). They added nothing to the plot besides showing Kevin is having conflicts on which persona is the most dominant one.

I feel this could have been shown in ways that would be more essential to the plot, or I wish Buckley’s character would have been more involved in the plot instead of merely providing information.

All in all, I give the movie a 9/10. I definitely recommend this movie to fans of psycho-thrillers.

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