Sunday, 29 January 2017
Starring James McAvoy, Haley Lu Richardson, Jessica Sula, Anna Taylor-Joy and Betty Buckley. Written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan. Budget $9 million. Running time 117 minutes. Certificate 15.
Three girls are abducted by James McAvoy's Dennis and wake up locked in a basement to discover they are all the victims of a man with 23 distinct and separate personalities and told they are to be a gift to a Beast, who is soon to become the 24th member of Dennis' extrememly crowded cranium. What follows is a tight, thriller as the girls lead by outsider, Anna Taylor-Joy try to survive while Dennis comes apart at the seams and his psychiatrist, Betty Buckley tries to unravel and help him.
Don't want to say too much more than this. It's an effective and entertaining thriller that is sadly let down by an ending that doesn't have closure or at least enough of it to satisfy me. Instead it opts for ending, which annoying lays the groundwork of a very unexpected sequel.
James McAvoy is utterly superb in this film and the best moments come between him and Buckley as she explores his damaged psyche and the scenes between him and Anna Taylor-Joy as the brave, resourceful but believable Casey, with her own demons.
This is without doubt Shyamalan's best film in years, indeed I'd say since Unbreakable. But it still doesn't forgive him for The Happening, Last Airbender, Lady in the Lake, The Village or Signs all of which are woeful.