Split

Writing MovieWRONGS

By Jim West

Split

Directed by M Night Shyamalan

Written by M Night Shyamalan

M Night Shyamalan is notorious for his ‘twist endings’ and has had major success with films like The Sixth Sense, Signs, and Unbreakable.  The story is an interesting concept.  A man named Kevin with 23 personalities struggles with them as a 24th personality is coming to take control of them all.  Three teenage girls are kidnapped by one of the personalities and most reviews you will read focus on the one teen girl trying to manipulate the 23 personalities to helping her escape.  They are all wrong.  First off it is noted several times that there are 23 personalities.  Yet the film only shows us 8 of the 23.  Then of those 8 personalities, only the 1 of Hedwig the child is ever attempted to manipulate.  I wonder if these reviewers even watched the same film as I would welcome that premise that the girl would attempt to manipulate all personalities in one way or another to turn on each other.  Alas that does not happen.  Now let us break into spoiler territory!

The film does a good job with making the audience feel creeped out and slightly cringing.  Yet there film lacks both visual jump scares that films such as this would normally bring.  James McAvoy does a fantastic job at portraying the personalities and his performance really cannot have been better.  Two of the three girls seemed to underplay their captivity and at times overact which can be a distraction.  The one main girl Casey, played by Anya Taylor-Joy, does a good job for her role, but where M Night fails us is showing more of her flashbacks.  As a child she was molested by her uncle and when her dad died from a heart attack (which the uncle notes runs in the family) has to grow up with her molester.  The climax of the film reveals she is a cutter.  Now that is when a flashback scene showing her cutting herself for the first time might have improved the climax a bit more.  Dr. Karen Fletcher, played by Betty Buckley, should not have died.  Rather the script should have seen her survive and she would be the foremost expert on Kevin and his personalities (for any possible sequel).  Of course with the 24th personality called the Beast noted towards the end of the end that more personalities would be coming would mean she would still have a great challenge in helping anyone track him down.  Now why do I strongly suggest she been left alive?  Well the ‘surprise’ twist ending is the diner scene where folks are watching the news and the reveal of Bruce Willis’s character David Dunn (Unbreakable) ties the two films into the same universe.  This to me is beckoning for a sequel in which Dunn tracks down the Beast.  Therefore it makes more sense to leave the doctor alive. 

Now I would not have written the ending in the diner.  I would have switched to Casey at home with her uncle.  She confronts him while he is eating and he starts to have a heart attack possibly induced by her.  She reveals again her scars which now she is no longer afraid to show them as she was earlier in the film.  As he is dying she says heart attacks run in the family and watches the life leave his body.  That is how this film should have been written to take it from nice idea to great must see twice film.

Thanks for reading Writing Movie ‘WRONGS’. 

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