Author Topic: Split  (Read 143 times)

Sam the Cinema Snob

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Split
« on: December 11, 2017, 08:38:54 PM »
Somehow there isn't a thread for this film?  :o

Okay, first things first, McAvoy performs his ass off and basically makes the film, but just about everything else here is flat and lifeless. All the other characters and actors are passable at best and the filmmaking feels like the most pedantic work that anyone could have done. It makes me wonder if M Night just had some great cinematographers for those early films because boy is this film dull.

I couldn't help but compare this to 10 Cloverfield Lane which had a similar claustrophobic setting but was far more tense and terrifying because of the filmmaking and the fact everyone in that film could actually act.

Anyway, the reason I post in the spoiler section is it seems like the entire plot of the film hinges on the reveal at the end that this is set in the same universe as Unbreakable. Seriously, screw that. I don't mind him being a supernatural being, I basically thought that was where it was going from the start, but to play up the whole mental insanity angle and then have it turn out that he has superpowers somehow just felt cheap and unearned. And the film heavily implies that his mental illness is what gives him power as the different personalities cause him to exhibit different physical qualities? As someone who suffers from mental illness, I find that idea super offensive.

Plus, the film never really explores how that might work with the personalities that are gendered female. It teases it with Hedwig seeming to be weaker and act like a prepubescent boy, but with all those personalities you could have really done something to showcase how the different personalities might exhibit different abilities. Either double down on the split personalities manifesting powers or just don't touch on a subject you can't treat with the nuance and respect it deserves.

I started the film feeling like the film was exploitative and as it progressed, I just got angry that he exploits this idea and then makes the most pedantic, bland version of it he could realize. This could have been a proper madhouse by the end but instead it felt like a really shitty version of the climax of Blade Runner. I thought I'd give M. Night another shot, but I'm done. He's in the doghouse. I don't want to see any future films he makes. As a teen I had so much respect for this guy and he's just absolutely squandered all the goodwill he built up with those early films. Man, this film disgusts me.

FLYmeatwad

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Re: Split
« Reply #1 on: December 11, 2017, 08:57:51 PM »
Did you not watch The Visit?

Anyway, I think the film succeeds mostly from the way AJT's story is handled, though I liked McAvoy plenty as well. The big reveal at the end I definitely did not care for though, even though I love Unbreakable. I feel like M. Night is working in the same genre that 1800's Gothic horror worked in, but obviously as we come to have a better understanding of mental illness I also get why him portraying certain aspects as such would be troubling in a modern context. I don't think it's all handled terribly though, it could just be handled better at some points, but, again, I understand how any sort of mishandling could be offensive and ruin the entire film.

1SO

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Re: Split
« Reply #2 on: December 11, 2017, 09:27:43 PM »
Anyway, the reason I post in the spoiler section is it seems like the entire plot of the film hinges on the reveal at the end that this is set in the same universe as Unbreakable.
Does it? I thought you could cut off that scene and the plot would work just fine for a silly multiple personality thriller. The reveal is a bonus but the plot of Split doesn't needs it to function or make sense.

I'm not going to begrudge you taking offense to the portrayal of mental illness, but it's kind of written on the packaging that this is going to be movie mental illness and not reality. My wife is a high-functioning Autistic and she knew The Accountant was going to make the main character's Autism into a superpower, not shine a light on the day-to-day struggles. Being offended as a person who loves movies I understand, but being offended for Split's lack of nuance and respect regarding mental illness is like being offended by Star Wars because that's not how space travel really works or even sounds like.

Sam the Cinema Snob

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Re: Split
« Reply #3 on: December 12, 2017, 07:42:23 AM »
I'm finding it hard to word exactly what irritates me about the whole endeavor. I went into the film expecting it to be supernatural like the rest of his films, but I was hoping it would be beyond there actually being a beast persona that is seemingly idestructable. I was hoping that there would be an interesting twist to it. Not like a third act rug-pulling moment, but maybe that there's something more to what is going on, like a larger context to the story.

I think another part that irritates me is that the mental illness, and also the sexual assault for the female lead, feel more like tools to further along the plot and less about an actually interesting character arc or evolution. I never truly got the sense that Dennis had a real struggle about The Beast until that one late scene where all his personas start falling in and out of each other.

There wasn't enough interplay and evolution there, it was mostly having a persona manifest itself into whatever could further the plot at each moment. I think that's the core issue. I felt like the mental illness was less about the character and more about pushing along the plot to move around a set of damsels in distress that I never connected to on any level but was supposed to because it alludes to sexual assault. The heavy issues it picked up were more about plot devices than characters to me and it left me with a bad taste in my mouth.

DarkeningHumour

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Re: Split
« Reply #4 on: December 12, 2017, 09:20:23 AM »
and also the sexual assault for the female lead, feel more like tools to further along the plot and less about an actually interesting character arc or evolution.

Yes. The way the movie unveiled ATJ's rape without making use of it in any way but only to give her some depth or whatever was fairly appalling.
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