Viewed – 06 June 2017 online-rental
It’s probably safe to say that acclaimed director M Night Shyamalan has been off his game for a few years, with such poorly received movies as The Last Airbender and The Happening. However recently there seems to have been a slight return to form, what with the well received The Visit and now this much talked about thriller. James McAvoy plays a disturbed man who suffers from dissociative personality disorder and claims to have 23 different personalities all vying for attention. Told with a combination of visits to his psychiatrist and the kidnapping of three young women by his more sociopathic personalities, this sets the stage for a clever little thriller, held together by a demanding and often eye-opening performance.
The initial impression I got from the trailer (and I tend to avoid trailers for the most part) wasn’t all that positive despite plenty of good word-of-mouth. McAvoy you see delivers a myriad of different performances here, some menacing, others it has to be said rather absurd and silly (do we really need him to do a rather dodgy impression of a nine year old boy, complete with a lisp?) and less said about the campy female personality the better. Which is a shame as Shyamalan’s direction is tight and atmospheric, full of eerie camera movement not unlike something from a Hitchcock movie and great use of claustrophobic locations. The three turns from the kidnapped girls are also good, especially from The Witch’s Anya Taylor-Joy (an actress who continues to impress). However a final twist involving a 24th personality throws the movie into schlocky horror, doing away with it’s otherwise semi-realistic tone … and well, we get a final scene that adds a connection to an earlier Shyamalan movie that just felt forced.
However with what has to be said is a colourful and impressive turn from McAvoy (his transitions from certain personalities are damn freaky) and bags of tension I still found myself entertained. Just sad the idea promised much more than the movie could eventually deliver.
Verdict: 3 /5