“X-Men” star James McAvoy plays a kidnapper in “Split” in whose body 24 personalities (!) fight for supremacy – a terrific acting tour-de-force that you can now enjoy on Amazon Prime Video can leave:
M. Night Shyamalan’s career began with two real exclamation points thanks to The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable, but the gifted filmmaker went on to drift more and more in the direction of self-parody – earlier, depending on who you ask (” The Village) or later (The Happening, The Legend of Aang).
Beginning with 2015’s “The Visit”, however, Shyamalan worked his way out of a career low – this can also be seen very well in 2016’s “Split”, which is rightly regarded as the preliminary high point in Shyamalan’s directorial renaissance. “Split” is “M. Night Shyamalan’s best film in many years” is the conclusion of our FILMSTARTS review (4 out of 5 stars). And if you want to see it for yourself, you now have the opportunity to subscribe to Amazon Prime Video:
» M. Night Shyamalan’s “Split” on Amazon Prime Video*
However, “Split” is not only worth seeing because Shyamalan returns to his old form in it, but also because of James McAvoy (“X-Men: Days of Future Past”), who, as the film’s villain, kills a man with no fewer than 24 (!) different personalities – eight of which can also be seen in the film.
One day, this man, whose real name is Kevin, as his personality Dennis, kidnaps the teenage girls Claire (Haley Lu Richardson), Martha (Jessica Sula) and Casey (Anya Taylor-Joy) and locks them in a basement labyrinth. However, he then repeatedly confronts his victims in different personalities: sometimes as six-year-old Hedwig, sometimes as strict Patricia and sometimes as friendly Barry.
While the three young women are desperately looking for an escape route, Kevin keeps checking in with his psychiatrist, Dr. Fletcher (Betty Buckley), who quickly suspects her patient is hiding something from her…
With Kevin and his various personalities, McAvoy delivers an absolutely terrific performance, an acting tour de force in which the Scot can show his manipulative, brutal, frightened, vain, amusing, childish, aggressive and shy sides and effortlessly switch back and forth between the different personalities changes.
However, Anya Taylor-Joy (“X-Men: New Mutants”) is in no way inferior to her counterpart and also delivers a great performance as a defensive and patent kidnapper victim. However, those who have followed Taylor-Joy’s career (from “Emma.” to “The Queen’s Gambit” and now “The Menu”) should not be surprised…