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This is one of the cases where advertising and a film’s reality do not perfectly align – while the title and the ads suggest a film about a man with split personality, there was not really a suggestion of what the film really would be about. That left me hesitant, but when I watched it and discovered that there is a somehow straightforward abduction story at the centre (happening within the first couple of minutes), which is then used as a platform on which the mental state of “Kevin” (James McAvoy) play out, I was soothed. This is a thriller at its heart, and whatever else there is does not completely rely on the question of how many personalities Kevin may display. Actually… when it comes to the revelation of that final incarnation towards the end, the film loses a bit of its credibility and forced me to swallow my “oh Shyamalan!” cries of pain. McAvoy had done quite a great job at playing the eerie and threatening and pitiful by way of sheer acting proficiency – this is a bit devalued when the more, say, spectacular events occur in the finale.

There are other oddities and instances of writing clumsiness, such as the role psychiatrist Karen Fletcher (Betty Buckley) plays in the whole affair. I am tempted to say that I will never see a Shyamalan script that is as tight and stringent as I would like it to be. Still, all in all “Split” is a decent thriller that was hardly ever boring – it looks like a slightly higher-budget B-movie perfectly suited to consumption at a midnight screening on a Friday night.

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