Wednesday, February 15, 2017

SPLIT - A Thriller of a Man with 23 Multiple Personalities

This movie had garnered a lot of attention in the past month or so and created a good vibe as well in Indonesia. My wife and I were also interested to see this movie and were even considering to watch it at midnight last Saturday. However, we decided to just wait till the movie premiered today, which happened to be the governor election day and a public holiday in Indonesia. After we cast our votes and had a family lunch celebrating the birthday of the youngest niece from my wife's side, we went to see the 2.25 PM show.

Brief Story Line

After a birthday party, Claire (Haley Lu Richardson - The Edge of Seventeen) with her best friend Marcia (Jessica Sula) and another girl named Casey (Anya Taylor-Joy - The Witch, Morgan etc) were getting ready to go home, but were kidnapped by an unknown man. All of them woke up in a closed location underground and were getting restless and worried. Claire who seemed to be the courageous one, wanted to fight the kidnapper but Casey did not approve to it.
Meanwhile, a well known psychiatrist named Dr. Karen Fletcher (Betty Buckley - The Happening, Simply Irresistible etc) was getting an email from one of his patient requesting a special session. This patient who was known as Barry (James McAvoy - Victor Frankenstein, X-Man: First Class trilogy, etc) was in fact the person who kidnapped the 3 teenagers earlier. Barry was diagnosed as a patient with Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID or we laymen prefer to call it split personality). According to Dr. Fletcher, Barry was having 23 personalities and he was considered as the leader of all the personalities. She was suspicious that the patient came to her that day was actually not Barry but a stronger personality named Dennis. But she could not be sure of it.

Back at the kidnapping location, Dennis, the personality that captured the 3 girls were instructing them to clean the room and also the bathroom. During this time, Casey would sometime had recollection or dreams from her younger days with her father and uncle. At night, another personality showed up named Hedwig who was 9 years old. Casey was trying to get through to Hedwig to help them out but was unsuccessful. After trying to run away and captured by a lady's personality named Patricia, the girls were split into different location.

When Dr. Fletcher got other emails from Barry's other personalities at night, she really suspect that it was actually Dennis who came to her during the additional sessions that he requested. But can she find the truth? Could she find out why she was getting emails from the more inferior personalities? Could the 3 girls escaped from the kidnapper? Find all the conclusions till the end of the movie.

End of Brief Story Line

This movie was having quite a long duration of almost 2 hours. For a psychological thriller, it is understandable if the movie was moving in a slow pace. From my personal point of view, the good thing about this movie was the performance of James McAvoy who was having multiple personalities. He was incredibly convincing when portraying Dennis, Hedwig and Patricia character. There were also few scenes of him becoming other personalities, but we were never shown the whole 23 personalities. I guessed 23 were just too much to be characterized. I am actually curious why M. Night Shyamalan wrote it for 23. Was it a magic number or something? Anyway, my view about this is that the split personalities may have been better if it was 5 or even 10 as long as all of them were shown. I think 23 is too much and felt like an overkill.

During the whole movie, I was expecting a very suspenseful psychological trailer where all the multiple personalities would show in front of the 3 girls, but instead, the suspense were not maintained from start to end. I personally feel that the scenes involving the psychiatrist and Dennis were making the movie not totally focused. Yes it was supposed to provide the struggles happening inside Dennis' mind when he was interacting with Dr. Fletcher, but I actually felt it was more like distraction.

When watching this kind of movie, I was a little bit more critical compared to if I saw action, or science fiction movies where logics were not the main focus. Therefore when I saw one scene involving Dr. Fletcher and the final personality shown before the end of the movie about the solution on how to face Dennis, I was really confused and not satisfied on this part. Perhaps anyone who read my views about this movie can send personal comment/advice about the logic on this.

In conclusion, contrary to popular views, I think this movie is a little bit overrated. It is a good movie but not a spectacular one. I think the last psychological trailer I saw in theater last year 10 Cloverfield Lane was better than this one. That movie was having a bit similarity in term of kidnapping victim in a confined space, but I honestly felt that was more suspenseful.

Btw, there was an unexpected cameo scene of famous star before the end of the movie which I only found out later that it was related to another movie by M. Night Shyamalan titled Unbreakable. Unfortunately I have not seen that movie yet, so I guess I would see it sometime later just to find out the relation. Those who have seen that movie might be able to connect the dots.

So for those of you who want to enjoy watching a psychological trailer of multiple personalities, this movie might be enjoyable. But please do not compare this with Alfred Hitchcock's classic movie Psycho which was way more superior in term of suspense. But if you are really intrigued with all the hype the movie was having, then by all means, you are welcome to see it. The choice is yours.

Happy watching!

Mike's movie moments rating: 3 out of 5 stars

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