SPLIT brings back every single one of M Night Shyamalan’s worst habits as a director with interest. After the briefest of returns to form with THE VISIT (it was a straight horror: he can do straight horror) now he thinks he’s Hitchcock again. Trivialising mental illness and sexual abuse all for the sake of plot, the film might be carefully styled with strong shadows, weird camera angles and invasive close-ups, but it’s not the least bit thought-provoking and completely lacking in tension. Anna Taylor-Joy is strong, but James McAvoy takes too many easy shortcuts with his character: every trope for acting out madness or mania is there (of course there’s a Travis Bickle/Gollum mirror scene) resulting in his scenes being simplistic, unconvincing and borderline insulting one-man shows. Then there’s the end which might have been transplanted from an entirely different screenplay, and judging by the final Earth-shattering (Shyamalan thinks) reveal, it was. SSP
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Writer and film fanatic fond of black comedies, sci-fi, animation and films about dysfunctional families.
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