A thriller that will keep view­ers spell­bound

The Star Early Edition - - TONIGHT -

Dr Fletcher, but by the time they meet, he as­sures her noth­ing is wrong.

The girls first en­counter Barry’s mul­ti­ple iden­ti­ties in a cross-dress­ing scene that echoes Psy­cho. Only when he ap­pears later in the guise of a lisp­ing 9-year-old boy named Hed­wig does Casey re­alise there may be an ad­van­tage to be gained in Barry’s con­di­tion: She be­gins try­ing to be­friend the child, hop­ing to play him off his more men­ac­ing neigh­bours.

Casey’s cell­mates are im­pa­tient to es­cape, and push for more di­rect tac­tics that get them in trou­ble. But as the film flashes back to Casey’s child­hood, when she hunted deer with her fa­ther and un­cle, we are drawn in to her more cau­tious ap­proach, re­al­is­ing that life has taught her things the shel­tered girls don’t know.

In par­al­lel to Casey’s ma­noeu­vring, we watch a se­ries of ap­point­ments in which Dr Fletcher con­ducts her own del­i­cate in­ter­ro­ga­tion – not yet know­ing there’s a crime in progress, but sure Barry has a prob­lem he’s not ready to share. What­ever its sci­en­tific mer­its, Shya­malan’s poppsy­chol­ogy ap­proach makes dra­matic sense, paint­ing a pic­ture of the com­mu­nity of peo­ple in­side the pa­tient’s mind, each cre­ated to help him sur­vive child­hood and adult trau­mas.

The di­rec­tor ties themes to­gether at the end with more fi­nesse than usual, let­ting a cou­ple of mean­ing­ful vi­su­als speak for them­selves where he might have thrown in a line or two of ex­plana­tory di­a­logue. And as for that fi­nal twist, it’s a doozy. – Hol­ly­wood Re­porter

James McAvoy as Barry, a trou­bled vil­lain suf­fer­ing from dis­so­cia­tive iden­tity dis­or­der, in Split.

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