SHYAMALAN-TOBER: Split (2017)
M. Night Shyamalan needs to walk away from writing his own films. Forever.
STRONG CONTENT WARNING: This episode discusses Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) and this film’s exploitative portrayal of that disorder. In the course of researching this episode, we learned that this film had a strong negative impact on the DID community, and that it has and could cause trauma for individuals with DID. As well, the film deals with child sexual abuse, kidnapping, violent murder, biological horror, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and cannibalism. Maybe don’t watch this movie.
On our first watch of the final film in our Shyamalan-tober series, we thought we might have a really great return from M. Night. There’s a compelling and interesting story on the backs of several outstanding performances - James McAvoy gives a master class in characterization while Anya Taylor-Joy takes the movie on her shoulders and keeps everything grounded and real. Yet after a few moments of reflection, it became staggeringly clear that this movie might be his most frustrating and harmful. By centering the entire premise of his movie around a villain struggling with a mental illness, and disregarding the very real trauma that people with such disorder have experienced, Shyamalan has made something worse than just a “bad movie.” He’s made a compelling, good movie with the message that “this mental illness creates monsters.” And in doing so, proved conclusively that he should never write his own scripts. We tell you the reasons you probably shouldn’t watch Split, even if it’s not that bad, this week on Macintosh & Maud Haven’t Seen What?!
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Clips from the film Split are copyright 2017 Universal Studios. All rights reserved.
Excerpt used from “Holiday Road,” written and performed by Lindsey Buckingham. Copyright 1983 Now Sounds Music (BMI). Phonographic copyright 1983 Warner Bros. Records.
Intro music taken from the Second Movement of Ludwig von Beethoven's 9th Symphony. Licensed under an Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Hong Kong (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0 HK) license. To hear the full performance or get more information, visit the song page at the Internet Archive.