M. Night Shyamalan has had a rollercoaster of a film career. The writer/director has been equally praised and condemned over the course of two decades. Recently, he seems to have been in a bit of an upswing and even has a series on Apple TV+ that just entered its second season. Suffice to say that this is an artist that you can never fully count out. And that is even proving true today as one of the filmmaker’s movies happens to be dominating Netflix.
M. Night Shyamalan’s Split released in 2017 starring James McAvoy and Anya Taylor-Joy, and it is the #5 most popular movie on Netflix today. Exactly why it has shot up the rankings is unclear, but one thing that is perfectly obvious is the quality of the film. Split has received a ton of critical acclaim and looks to have developed a strong following in the years since its release. What exactly is it about this movie that has so many people enjoying it so deeply?
One big factor has to be the lead performance of James McAvoy. His character houses a number of distinct and different personalities, and that allows M. Night Shyamalan to coax some stunning moments out of the actor. McAvoy’s work alone is reason enough for Split to garner some attention. He really is that powerful a presence as he showcases all the different quirks, desires, and flaws of the many personalities that lie within the character of Kevin. It could be that Netflix users are just really craving his performance.
That would definitely be a different sentiment than the movie received recently. There was a movement that was attempting to get M. Night Shyamalan’s Split pulled off Netflix. The complaint centered around the supposed negative display of disassociative identity disorder (DID). However, the film eventually goes to such a wild place that any real-world application of its depictions seems ridiculous. In fact, the movie might even have some very insightful things to say about people with mental health issues and abusive households.
But, what most people remember about Split was how M. Night Shyamalan was able to provide one of his trademarked twists to the end of the film. The ending had Bruce Willis reprising his role from Shyamalan’s Unbreakable and setting up the possibility of a larger universe of stories. That would be followed up with the film Glass which had a mixed reception at best. It was a movie worth discussing, but it ultimately did not live up to its predecessors.
Still, Split was a massive success at the box office and effectively revitalized M. Night Shyamalan’s blockbuster appeal. The movie has led to the writer/director getting a number of projects off the ground and he will even have another feature film coming out soon. Clearly, audiences loved Split enough for it to help get Shyamalan back in the game. Will his career suffer another catastrophic dip? Or has he finally found the groove that works best for him? Regardless, you can enjoy Split on Netflix right now and see one of the writer/director’s best projects.