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July 30, 2017

Movie: Split (2016)

Filed under: Hollywood Movies — Tags: , , , — krishnafromtoronto @ 5:49 pm

imageAnother movie from M Night Shyamalan. While his movies typically have a split at the end of the movie, in this case, you understand the twist much earlier. Still this movie is an above average Shyamalan movie.

As we have mentioned in our review of The Visit, an earlier movie by him, he is seen to be erratic. The last few movies, including The Visit, have been encouraging. I like to think that there is a genuine shift in making more entertaining movies and that the ‘improvement’ is not because our expectations about his movies has plummeted.

This movie is good. In fact, it takes off from the beginning altogether. There is a very lonely and non social kid called Casey, who has been invited to the party of her friend. Claire. When her dad takes them both on his car, along with another kid called Marcia who was in the party, he is overpowered by a  stranger, who also chloroforms all the kids and takes them over to an isolated house. The entire story happens in that house, with the three kids being prisoners of this man.

We learn that the man is Kevin. This character has been played by James McEvoy – yes, the same actor who comes as the young Professor Xavier in the X-Men movies. This is definitely a different role for him.

Through Kevin’s psychiatrist, the elderly Dr Karen Fletcher, we learn also that Kevin suffers from multiple personality syndrome, rather a very advanced form of it. Inside him are Hedwig, a kid, Barry, a sketch artist, a lady etc. There are actually 23 personalities there. The fun part is that the kids, and through them we, get to see many of them (all acted by McEvoy, for which, for a while there was a buzz that this may be an Oscar worthy performance – however, in the end, he did not even get a nomination).

Shyamalan makes a cameo as always as the assistant of the doctor but the main movie is about how Casey survives and we also learn why she was also so socially awkward. As a child, she suffered sexual abuse at the hand of an uncle, who ended up becoming her foster father when her father died prematurely.

Then Kevin reveals to his doctor that there is another identity called The Beast.

The entire movie is one of the indefatigable Casey planning to escape, nearly making it and either Kevin or Dennis or Barry catching up to them. Her persuading Hedwig, who is only ‘9 years old’ into helping her and then last minute, Kevin or Barry catching them at it.

Nice. There is also a pseudo science where it says that if the person believes that he is strong, the body adopts to become really strong and Karen quotes a ton of authentic looking studies to ‘prove that it is true’. You wonder why and it becomes clear towards the Climax where The Beast really comes in when all seems to be lost for Kevin.

Be as incredulous you like to be, this is a bit too much to swallow.

But if you keep your disbelief suspended and just enjoy it as a movie, it becomes then an interesting story, with an ending that holds together and keeps your interest until the end.

 

7/ 10

–  – Krishna

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November 6, 2015

Movie: The Visit (2015)

Filed under: Hollywood Movies — Tags: , , , — krishnafromtoronto @ 8:17 pm

imageAccording to some reviewers, M Night Shyamalan could never live up to his debut film The Sixth Sense ever again. He had a brand of movies that seem to have a tremendous twist at the end, in every one of those movies but the magic was, to hear some say, gone. In fact, a Simpsons episode lampooned him as going the other way, making “increasingly crappy” movies.

This movie definitely does not equal the magic of his first movie, but I would claim that it is a lot better than some of his earlier movies. The twist at (near) the end is there, but this one is much more believable than, say, the story of The Lady in the Water, just to name one of his earlier disappointments.

The story is cleverly constructed to make way for the improbable situations. The story is about two kids, Becca and Tyler, two very cute kids. In many cases their conversation is funny and the banter between them is close and easy, almost reminding you of the brother and sister in the Jeepers Creepers movie. (I mean the first, and in my view, the only good one).

The story is about their grandparents, who have been estranged from their mother Paula. Paula made a really bad choice for a husband, and they never wanted to speak to her again. Her choice ended in a disaster and a divorce and now she is dating someone else, and wants to take a cruise with him. Coincidentally, the grandparents relented and asked her to visit. She decides to send the kids there.

Well scene set for two kids in their grandparents’ house for the first time. They seem very nice, and loving, and then strange things start to happen. And on top of that, there are strange rules like, ‘No matter what you hear, do not come out of your room after 9 PM’.

Well, the grandparents seem to have really odd habits sometime bordering on the bizarre. They seem to have no control over the limits of making fun, the grandmother walking around projectile vomiting in the night (which they were not supposed to see but sneaked out to see anyway).

There are very nice touches and hints that you do not pick up until the end – in this regard, this is closer to The Sixth Sense than other movies. For instance, a doctor comes in to see the grandparents when they were out for a walk and mentions interesting happenings in the local asylum which he wants to discuss with them.

There are some interesting scenes where the mother talks to them on Skype (or what looks like Skype) but due to the bad connection, could not have a full conversation.

The kids are increasingly puzzled and each time something weird happens, the grandparents give a plausible explanation – plausible but not normal.

The weirdness escalates, and some of the scenes specifically are over the top. For instance, why grandpa sneaks into the outhouse (which is always locked) and what the kids find out about it. The explanation for that is also bizarre.

The final twist, if you were really paying attention, is not really hard to guess and, like I said earlier, is a believable thing.

All in all, not a bad effort. Not spectacular, but not bad at all.

6/10

– – Krishna

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