Split has its audience gasping at each turning point, laughing at the comic relief characters and thinking about the message of the film.
The film follows Kevin Wendell Crumb, played by James McAvoy, who suffers from Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). He is capable of showing twenty-three different personalities that inhabit his body and fight for control. Some of the personalities are hostile—Dennis, one of the personalities, abducts three teenage girls and holds them hostage to fulfill his own sick fantasies. Other warmer personalities try to keep the hostile ones from controlling the body but fail. The film follows the three girls who try to escape under the increasing pressure that an unseen twenty-fourth personality, a mutant killer known as “The Beast” may emerge in Kevin.
Kevin’s character is one of the most interesting characters I have ever seen in cinema. James McAvoy is able to play each personality well while also showing how the personalities rival each other. In an almost one-man show, McAvoy acts out an internal struggle brought to life.
The cinematography was one of the best aspects of the movie, as it used angles that tell more of the story. The movie transitions between the abductees and the abductor while effectively showing the audience how Kevin’s various personas control him.
Despite how captivating the movie is, the plot is quite slow. The buildup takes about an hour and a half, and many seemingly unnecessary events in the plot take place before the climax. Time is spent explaining the disorder itself, which should have been expressed through Kevin and his actions.
Even though the personalities are distinct in themselves, they blend together. At certain points, some personalities impersonate other ones to show the struggle for Kevin’s body, but it is unclear who is actually present. Fortunately for the viewers, Kevin can only be one personality at once, but viewers really have to pay attention in order to figure out who is who.
I would recommend this film to people who like character development. The buildup of Kevin’s intricate personality leaves people wondering what will happen to him until the very end.
Split (4/5): Worth the charge
PROs: Portrayal of complex character and cinematography
CONs: Slow pace and blended personalities later on in movie