The story of Ray Kroc, a salesman who turned two brothers' innovative fast food eatery, McDonald's, into one of the biggest restaurant businesses in the world with a combination of ambition, persistence, and ruthlessness.
John Lee Hancock
John Carroll Lynch
A five-year-old Indian boy gets lost on the streets of Calcutta, thousands of kilometers from home. He survives many challenges before being adopted by a couple in Australia; 25 years later, he sets out to find his lost family.
When three girls are kidnapped by a man with 24 different personalities they have work out which of those personalities will help them escape and which of those personalities will will try to stop them. James McAvoy produces a master class performence playing the psychotic kidnapper and 24 roles. Written by
"Split" is an outstanding return to form for Shyamalan and one of the best horror-thrillers in years.
Dissociative Identity Disorder (known as DID, and previously called Multiple Personality Disorder) is a psychological disorder in which a single person displays multiple distinct personalities, often as a defense mechanism to help the original personality deal with some sort of emotional trauma, like that suffered as a result of child abuse. These personalities each have a distinct name and distinct personality traits. As you can imagine, this condition is shrouded in mystery, is especially difficult to diagnose and treat and can be very dangerous for the sufferer and for those around him/her/them. Fascination with DID has been fodder for a number of movies over the years, most notably in 1976 when Sally Field played (and won an Emmy for) a made-for-TV version of the true story of a woman who had 16 different personalities. ("Sybil" was remade, again for TV, in 2007, then starring Tammy Blanchard and Jessica Lange.) 2017 offers a fictional DID story in the form of the horror-thriller "Split" (PG-13, 1:57), written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan who also co-produces for the second time with Jason Blum and Marc Bienstock of Blumhouse Productions, which gave us horror franchises like "Paranormal Activity".
James McAvoy is Kevin Wendell Crumb, a man with 23 different personalities inside his head, but who is still able to function in society. He lives on his own, has held a good job for ten years, and regularly sees his psychologist, Dr. Karen Fletcher (Betty Buckley). She finds it difficult to treat Kevin, but she cares a great deal about his mental health and she makes herself available to him 24/7. She also finds it difficult to gain professional acceptance for the things she is learning about DID by working with Kevin. And it can be especially difficult for Dr. Fletcher to know which of Kevin's personalities with whom she is speaking. For a while now, she's been dealing primarily with Kevin's artistic personality, known as Barry, but something has changed in her recent sessions with Kevin. She senses it, but isn't sure what it means.
However, three young women are experiencing firsthand what has changed in Kevin. High school friends Claire and Marcia (Haley Lu Richardson and Jessica Sula) are giving a ride to strange loner Casey (Anya Taylor-Joy) when Kevin suddenly gets into their car, incapacitates the three of them and takes them to some sort of underground facility in which he lives and has built a room to hold the girls. Actually, it was Dennis, Kevin's most forceful personality, who abducted the three, but they don't understand what is going on, why they've been taken or what they should do about it. Disagreements over how to work together to escape and the emergence of Dennis' fellow "alters" keep them off balance, but when they do take action, their attempts to resist just make matters worse for them. With the obvious exception of their captive state, the girls are unharmed, but it becomes clear that something bad is about to happen.
"Split" is an outstanding return to form for Shyamalan and one of the best horror-thrillers in years. Looking at audience and critics' ratings reveals that there was a slow, but steady decline in the popularity of his films after he burst into the public consciousness with his Best Picture Oscar-nominated 1999 drama-mystery-thriller "The Sixth Sense". That decline bottomed out with 2010's "The Last Airbender", but rebounded slightly with 2013's "After Earth". The reception for his films improved further with his 2015 horror-thriller "The Visit", his first film with Blumhouse Productions, who gave Shyamalan more artistic freedom than he had enjoyed in many years. Although "Split" doesn't feature one of his trademark mind-bending twists, it's his best film in 10-15 years.
Here, he has made a movie with an original concept, a compelling narrative and genuine tension which gradually builds. It helps that this is an especially well-acted horror film. McAvoy transforms himself (physically, emotionally and regarding audience perceptions of him), Buckley turns in her most powerful performance since the original "Carrie" in 1976 and Taylor-Joy follows up her under-appreciated work in 2016's "The Witch" and "Morgan" showing that she's one of the most talented young actresses of the mid-late 2010s. And, almost as much as this film showing that Shyamalan is very much back as a director, his fans will appreciate seeing two actors from his earlier films in the cast and one killer reference to one of those films in the closing credits. "Split" is not to be missed. "A"
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