It has been many years of waiting with baited breath for M Night Shyamalan fans and his latest visionary, cinematic release is even more than the seasoned movie buffs could have expected. Exploring mental illness in a sci-fi setting, the result is a ground-breaking and thought provoking piece of cinematic genius. One individual, twenty-three distinctive identities and one question; what if we look at this, not as an illness, but as a step in human evolution?
The first and most unexpected aspect of his latest venture is the casting; James McAvoy is renowned for his box office success and typical Hollywood heartthrob aesthetics, but hardly the raw acting chops necessary to play such a complex and revolutionary role. However, it is precisely this sceptical lack of expectation from the actor that works in his favour as the Scottish native successfully tackles the gruelling task of portraying numerous and varied characters with a combination of drastic and subtle contrasts; this is surely the stuff OSCAR nominees are made of.
The network of supporting actors also contributes greatly to the attributes of this film; the supporting cast is relatively unknown and therefore, the focus is on the plot and the director’s vision is conveyed without the distractions of big industry names. This does not suggest, however, that the performances are lacking in any way; in fact, quite the opposite as the raw and riveting portrayals from the wider cast will no doubt hold a captive audience.
M. Night Shyamalan has managed to do here what very few directors have mastered; he makes us think, jump out of our skin, laugh and hate some of the personalities as passionately as we love the others and he has accomplished this with the finesse he is well renowned for. So if you’re looking for a great movie night or a no-brainer first date pick, this masterpiece will not disappoint.
And for my fellow Shyamalan fanatics, be sure to stick around after the credits. We all know it’s not a true Shyamalan experience without the inevitable and nail-biting twist.
Words By Ayaan Omar