For most movie dwellers, the idea of seeing an M. Night Shyamalan movie may send you fleeing in the other direction, especially after the disaster that was “The Last Airbender.” That being said, in this film, #Shyamalan seems to have rediscovered some of the magic that led to a great film like the “Sixth Sense.” The film revolves around a character named Kevin (played by James McAvoy) who suffers from dissociative identity disorder and in total has about two dozen personalities or personas that live within him. Kevin kidnaps three high school girls from a mall, and the only way for these girls to survive is to figure out which persona has taken over Kevin at any particular time.

James McAvoy showed incredible depth

James McAvoy has always been an actor that I felt deserved better roles. From “The Last King of Scotland” to “Atonement” the Scottish actor has always been able to inhabit a role and manipulate them into whatever he wants. In this film, McAvoy was really able to play with his range. When portraying a character with #mental illness and actor has to be very cognizant of coming across undignified. McAvoy found a way to remain himself while navigating through such a complex role. In one second he could switch from playing a nine-year-old to then portraying a woman. It was both jarring and exhilarating to see how easy it was for him to make that type of transition.

McAvoy was also able to stay present in this role which is something that a lot of actors struggle with. There was never a moment inauthenticity which helped to make this character more believable. Often portrayed as caricatures, McAvoy was able to ground this character in some kind of reality.

M. Night Shyamalan rediscovered his magic touch

As eluded to earlier, Shyamalan has had a pretty rough go of it. From critically praised to one of the director's audiences tried to avoid, Shyamalan had gone back to what him great in the first place. There are certain directors (Spielberg, Nolan, and Scorsese) that are big picture directors.

Shyamalan tried to be one of those types of directors but the kinds of stories that he tells need nurturing and should be told on a smaller scale. In this film and another recent film of his, “The Visit” he scaled it back and went for high concept and character development. There is a certain theatricality to his movies that I personally enjoyed, and in a movie that has this type of over the top main character, it works very well. Shyamalan has obviously taken a great deal of inspiration from #Alfred Hitchcock, and in a movie that is suspenseful to its core, he was able to use virtuoso camera work and music to propel the narrative forward. This movie was one that leaves a lasting impression, and McAvoy (in particular) added intensity and grittiness to a role that is often overplayed.