After a long gap of a month and a half, ‘Split’ finally made it onto the Indian screens and guess what, it’s an insanely mind-blowing watch!
It’s the story of a guy named Kevin diagnosed with 23 different personalities, who kidnaps three young girls and keeps them captive in a room somewhere. With nothing left to defend themselves but their will power, these three girls must escape from there before he does something to them. But did they make it out? Why did Kevin kidnap the girls in the first place? Please visit a cinema near you to find out.
First let’s finish up talking about the narrative. Since there is not much I can reveal either, I’ll be brief and completely spoiler free. Wasting no time, the movie starts off with the obvious kidnapping scene. Then the pace of the film comes to a constant, slowly revealing all the concealed details that we weren’t aware of, but piece by piece at a time. Quoting the Joker, “..at the last moments people show who they really are..”, that’s exactly what kind of character development is used to tell about the girls here. We get to know more and more about Kevin and his other personalities through the character of Dr. Fletcher, his psychiatrist. But most of the times, the dialogue here is used to reveal much more detail than the actions and hence the importance of listening to the dialogue keenly is exponentially increased. Simultaneously, we get to know about the girls too and how they respond to different personalities of Kevin, thus dawning onto us who is cleverer among the three. As feared by the psychiatrist and as teased in the posters, the apparent 24th personality is due to be unleashed and is supposedly a threat to everyone, taking Kevin to his highest potential. Things start to develop in that direction of revealing the 24th personality and post half run time, a sudden surge takes place in the pace, thus making us even more anxious. In my case I was on the egde of my seat for a fair last 30 minutes of the film. That’s how well the narrative is crafted. As if they were completely opposites of each other, the majority of the first half is at a normal constant pace and the rest revvs away in the 6th gear. Brilliant script writing from Shyamalan. Immaculate. The only low side is that for some people, such pace can bore them in the start. But anyway, I’m not one of them!
The direction was fantastic. Knowing exactly where to vary the pace, where to have some light moments with some jokes, where to reveal what detail, everything was taken care really well. Cinematography by Mike Gioualiks was really really good. Steady camera shots, long shots with close ups, eye POV shots when there’s a conversation going on, etcetera all these are executed so well. Even the lighting is handled well. No complaints with the editing. The score was really good. In the first half it was easy for me to notice the score flowing in the background, adding to the feel of the film. But as the movie got serious and more thrilling, I felt it hard to notice the score, that’s how much I was into the film! The production design was handled really well by Mara and Jesse. Everything felt so real on screen. Kudos to them.
Anna Taylor-Joy plays Casey Cooke in this flick and she was so good. A top notch acting performance from her and a very competitive one too. Her facial expressions felt so real. Haley and Jessica did well for what all they had. Betty Buckely had a lot to offer as Dr. Fletcher. Her concern for her patients and how she feels about them, personally, is evident from her actions and that was convincing only by her performance. And now, answering the elephant in the room, James McAvoy! He was exceptional in this film. The way he modulates each and every personality in distinct ways and making it easy for us to differentiate who was who. That’s the toughest part of the job and he pulled it off with great ease. Each personality he played had different body language, manner of speaking, slang and tone of voice. Holy mother of god that’s not easy to do and takes so much to make it happen, and I’m sitting here still in disbelief wondering how he pulled it off. Hats off to him. This performance will remain as his career best and down the lane, this movie will remain as a classic.
Some of the best parts of the film are the scenes of Hedwig. All those scenes are adorable. In one of those scenes, the camera is in extreme close-up and there’s a transformation in Hedwig’s expression from happy to sad. That was breath taking. There’s one particular shot in the far end of the film where we look at something from the POV of a street light, it comes and goes in a jiffy, but the work that went into it was exceptional. Three instances where I noticed continuous long takes, one at the start of the film in the car, the one in the pre climax and the one exactly before the credits, all were executed well. Mesmerizing. All through the film, there are these intricately designed shots crying out to the audience about something related to the contents of the shot. Be it about the girls characters or either about Kevin’s mental state, etcetera. I’ll not spoil that for you, but watch for yourself and find it out. You’ll be enthralled.
Watch this ‘hoard’ go frenzy on your screens in a cinema near you, do not miss it! I’ll end this review by quoting a line from the film :
“The broken are the more evolved. Rejoice!”
Rating : 4.5/5