I just watched Split yesterday. I had been meaning to watch it when the trailers first came out, seeing as it involved a patient with dissociative identity disorder and I was an enthusiastic psychology student. I had read people’s opinions on the movie, that expressed their dislike for it, saying that the movie portrayed individuals with psychological illnesses in a bad light. That had me a bit wary of the movie, but I must say, when I watched it, I didn’t have that opinion.
Now this movie, by M Night Shyamalan, casts James McAvoy as a man suffering from DID, who kidnaps three young girls for a purpose. He has 23 known split personalities, but there are rumors that there is one hidden one, the most powerful of them all.
I have to say, I was completely taken by this movie. The suspense remained at a crucial level, and at one point in the climax, I was gripping my boyfriend’s leg so tight, pleading for the characters to do something.
I was able to pick up a few things by myself, foreseeing one of the male figures of the Casey to be a sexual predator, the end toward the end where she faces the Beast that seemed similar to the time back when she as a young child aimed a shotgun at her uncle. Also, when lovely Dr. Fletcher reminded Dennis that she can bring Kevin to the light by just saying his full name, it was clear how that would play a role in the climax.
So DID itself is a very interesting topic. Studies have shown that the different personalities of people with DID do have differences that set them apart, making it impossible to all be just an act. This movie showed that partly, talking about how one personality needed insulin shots and another had specific allergies.
Far from portraying individuals with DID in a negative light, it just took a creative spin, conjuring an alternate dimension where one personality would have access to its full power (reminiscent of the poor movie, Lucy). It showed good characters from bad, only 3 out of 23 personalities were slightly negative, and the rest sought help from Dr. Fletcher. Kevin, upon finding out what his personality had done, even asked Casey to kill him before the other personalities took over.
I also enjoyed the scene where young Hedwig kisses Casey and informs her that she might be pregnant. It was innocent and cute. The way Dennis moves to become Patricia, all wonderful acts done by James McAvoy, who had just been young Charles Xavier to me before.
Truly, this was a movie done by Mr. M Night Shyamalan, the way it was carried out. The twist at the end, how the climax stopped so abruptly but yet not in an awful manner.
Until I read the plot online again (as I always do after watching movies to see if there’s anything I missed out), I was under the mistaken impression that purity referred to one’s sexual “status”, to put it so weirdly. Only later did I find out it was referring to suffering, when the Beast looked upon her old scars on her body.
I was hoping that the world would not think of Kevin as a bad man.
I loved this movie, although I do think that when Casey smacked Patricia in the head with the chair, she shouldn’t have stopped till Patricia stopped moving, and then knifed her with the butter knife. A bit horrid, but if you’re in a captive situation, make sure they can’t come back for you, or it’s just a waste of effort.
KR rating: 4/5