Ralph Potts reviews this psychological thriller from writer/director M. Night Shyalaman, that tells the tale of three girls that are kidnapped by a man with a diagnosed 23 distinct personalities, and the need for them to escape before the apparent emergence of a frightful new 24th.
Studio and Year:
The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Universal - 2016
Feature running time:
English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, Spanish/French DTS 5.1
English SDH, Spanish, French
James McAvoy, Anya Taylor-Joy, Betty Buckley, Haley Lu Richardson, Jessica Sula
Written & Directed by:
M. Night Shyamalan
West Dylan Thordson
April 18, 2017
" Kevin has 23 distinct personalities. The 24th is about to be unleashed."
Though Kevin (James McAvoy) has evidenced 23 personalities to his trusted psychiatrist, Dr. Fletcher (Betty Buckley), there remains one still submerged who is set to materialize and dominate all of the others. Compelled to abduct three teenage girls led by the willful, observant Casey, Kevin reaches a war for survival among all of those contained within him -- as well as everyone around him -- as the walls between his compartments shatter.
Written/directed by M. Night Shyalaman, Split
delves into the mysterious depths of one man’s fractured mind as a terror unlike the world has seen prepares to be unleashed. This is a dark thriller that focuses on a troubled man, three young girls, and a therapist, that are all set on a collision course that is beset with ominous purpose. Split
has a very decent premise, and multi-genre elements. Shyalaman wastes little time getting things underway and lets the unfolding events build the narratives suspense and mystery.
I enjoyed the use of cinematography to drive the story and thought that the questions raised by the flashbacks for one of the female kidnap victims were quite interesting. While the buildup was excellent, the payoff was somewhat disappointing, although I liked the execution. I found that there were a few pertinent questions and narrative threads that should have been fleshed out, especially given the outcome. I really liked the Casey character, and would have liked to have seen better development of her, as outside of Kevin, she is essential to the plot.
Aside from these relatively minor complaints, I found Split
to be a solid thriller that ticked the right boxes. What of the film’s definitive elements is the sterling performance by James McAvoy. Without his ability to deliver each of the personalities portrayed with such distinctiveness it wouldn’t have sold it as well as it did. M. Night Shyalaman is a gifted and visionary storyteller. I find his films to be hit or miss, and often times question his ability to fully render a good concept. For me Split
sort of falls into that category, as I really enjoyed the concept and execution, but found the finish to be lacking fullness. Overall, it’s a very decent psychological thriller.
The rating is for disturbing thematic content and behavior, violence and some language.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency effects:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
- DSU Rating * (non-rated element):
Split comes to Blu-ray Disc from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 30 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.5 Mbps.
- Black Level/Shadow Detail:
- Color Reproduction:
This is a high bitrate encode that looks solid throughout. Detail is exemplary as images look clean, sharp, three dimensional and lifelike. I never felt that video was lacking in terms of depth or the perception of visible detail within the parameters of the structure of objects seen onscreen. Colors were reproduced with balanced tonality and deeply saturated and eye catching primaries. Fleshtones appeared natural with complexional variation and subtle texture that varied among the differing skin types of the cast members. Blacks were a solid shade of deep black and exhibited excellent dynamic range. Images were pristinely rendered and appeared free of compression related artifacts.
The DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio soundtrack handles the film’s predominantly dialogue driven elements with aplomb. Voices have discernable inflectional character with excellent room penetration and tonal description. Low level detail contained within the recording is easily detectable which allows even the lowest spoken passages or background ambience to be distinct. The soundstage is front oriented with the mix of music and discretely placed sound effects spread throughout the sound field occasionally broadening depth. Dynamic range is noteworthy which adds plenty of punch during the film’s active sequences. This isn’t an aggressive sound mix but its use of the entire system when called upon is done to excellent effect.
- Alternate Ending
- 9 Deleted Scenes with director introduction
- The Making of Split – 10 minute featurette
- The Many Faces of James McAvoy – 5 minute featurette
- The Filmmaker’s Eye: M. Night Shyalaman – 3 minutes
- Bonus DVD
- Digital HD Copy
Written/Directed by M. Night Shylaman Split
is a solid psychological thriller that, while not wholly gratifying, makes for an entertaining genre entry that should find appeal with fans of its director. It comes to Blu-ray from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment featuring excellent high definition audio/video mated with a middling supplemental set that includes an alternate ending, deleted scenes and a few brief production featurettes. Split
is a good rental choice when you’re in the mood for an edgy thriller on movie night.
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