When I first saw McAvoy in the movie Wanted, I pegged him as just one of the plethora of actors who come and go and you don’t even remember their face after some time. After about a year, I watched Atonement. I was surprised because the actor who I saw on the screen was no rookie, and before that, I was seldom wrong about such thing. So, I started looking for all the movies starring James McAvoy. In my quest, I found Filth and Trance, after which I became a die hard fan. He carries every one of his performance with a finesse which could pull up the entire movie by itself.
So naturally, I was very excited about Split. One other reason was M. Night Shyamalan in whom I had faith even after watching The Visit. So, I went to the theater yesterday. First day first show in Pune, India, about a month after its release in the US. There were 7 silhouettes I could see in the hall and I was afraid they would cancel the show, but I was wrong, fortunately.
Let me tell you something about Split. It is not meant for a mass audience. The film is about a man named Kevin who has 23 different personalities and a 24th is about to come out. He kidnaps 3 girls for some sort of ritual to be performed before the 24th personality arrived. Some of the personalities are dominant and are eagerly waiting for the ‘Beast’, the 24th entity. The girls have to escape somehow before they become the victim of the beast. Also, apart from these 24 Kevins and the 3 girls, there was also Betty Buckley portraying Kevin’s psychiatrist.
I have to say the movie left me speechless, especially the second half. It took advantage of the silence so very well that we had to refrain ourselves from taking our eyes away from the screen because it felt like anytime the movie is going to throw something awesome on our face. The main storyline is in perfect blend with the past story of Casey, played by Anya Taylor Joy who did an amazing job by the way.
But, McAvoy stole the show. He played every one of his personalities so very well that in some of the scenes, he won’t even speak a word but you will recognise from his body language what character he is in at that moment. In the second half, when the movie picked up a pace, you can hear a trace of a slur in his voice and then he would be a totally different person, with a different voice, accent, and behavior. My favorite out of the 24 was Hedwig, a 9-year-old child, who McAvoy portrayed with all the innocence he could bring up in his eyes. But that is the thing, there is this one personality which you would hate to love and there is this other one you would love to hate. Such a character can only come alive on screen if played by the finest actors we know.
I gave SPLIT 7/10 on IMDb.
PS: The last scene is alone is sufficient to make you gasp and keep your mind running for quite a few days.