I initially saw the film a few days early at a promo screening, and I walked away fairly moved by parts of the film. I went around and told some close friends that I recommended it, and was fairly shocked when they returned disliking it. Or how the film wasn’t celebrated critically. It was a bit funny to see how quickly in the year we get a very divisive film. And of course, it was by the director every loves to dislike.
At the start of his career, the mainstream public went bananas about gushing over M. Night Shyamalan, it’s rare for directors to become a household name, but he did nearly overnight. After The Sixth Sense was a massive hit, he unknowingly to the public tackled the superhero genre before superheroes ruled the screens with purple fists. There was some appreciation for Unbreakable, but for the most part, it was overlooked until recently, thanks to the surplus of people in tights and so on. As he continued to make films, there began a downward slope in his praise. After The Village, it’s hard to find a positive review for Lady In The Water, The Happening, or After Earth. And especially not whatever the mess that was The Last Airbender. After a much-needed leave of absence, he returned, but this time with Blumhouse. They tackled films at a smaller scale and The Visit was a smash-hit. And so was Split, even more so. It made his name have the same impact once more.
Something that helps Split be elevated was the fact that it was a secret sequel to Unbreakable, and it hinted at another sequel and it wasn’t long until Glass was greenlit. So here it was, a trilogy of superhero films in the potentially golden age of comic book adaptations. When the first image of the three personalities of Mr. Glass, Kevin, and David Dunn sitting next to each other in a row, there was thoughts and reactions of anticipating a brawl. So obviously, the audience wasn’t happy when they didn’t get it in the form they were expecting (read: like that airport scene in Civil War). Instead of what they wanted, they got a dark and convoluted plot that included a fight in a parking lot.
I personally love the fact that Shyamalan essentially told the public to “screw your expectations.” The reason the Blumhouse model works so well is due to its small budgets, and there’s no way they could have done what the people wanted.
M. Night directs the hell out of this picture. The cinematographer from It Follows and Us Mike Gioulakis shot the film gorgeously at 2:39:1, it’s mesmerizing to witness. The acting is incredible, considering it’s more of a direct sequel to Split than Unbreakable. So of course, James McAvoy gets a bit of the spotlight, as do all his personalities. On top of that, Anya Taylor-Joy returns and her relationship with Kevin is the thing to root for all of it.
The film ends and guts you in a way to make sure there is no way any more sequels coming, and I’m happy with the outcome. I think the best twist in the film is the choice of not giving the audience what they wanted.
The Blu-ray is fairly loaded with bonus features which is always appreciated. It starts with an alternate opening, which includes an explanation by Shyamalan himself where instead of opening with Patricia, it opens as they are setting up the building. He explains this is his way of telling the audience we will be focused on using one location.
On top of that, there are many deleted scenes that also have introductions for each and everyone which is very fascinating to get a peek inside the mind of why all these scenes were cut out, even though he loves all the scenes.
There are many features that include M. Night giving insight on colour and sound. If you’re a fan of the franchise, I highly recommend picking up the film on Blu-ray. I hope you don’t regret it like my friends did earlier in the year.
On Sale April 16th