I was 12 years old when Unbreakable came out in the year 2000. I remember liking the thriller, but finding the violence and grim subject matter extremely disturbing. Nevertheless, I appreciated the film and its gamechanging twist.
Thanks to James McAvoy’s remarkable performance, Split impressed me even more in 2016. While his stellar turn is just as memorable in Glass, the rest of the film can’t live up to his talent.
The problem with Glass is that it’s severely misguided in what it wants to focus on. The film spends an unbelievable and tedious amount of time with its newest character (Dr. Staple played by the delightful Sarah Paulson) trying to convince Kevin, David and Elijah that they aren’t superhuman. Instead of watching these historic characters butt heads, the film wastes precious screen-time on repetitive scenes and endless monologues. Even worse is that when the action finally does arrive, it’s lacking in ambition and pales in comparison to the spectacle that today’s blockbusters have accustomed us to.
Performance wise, there’s a whole lot of unevenness. McAvoy is of course incredible; it’s astounding to see him cycle between so many personalities in the span of a millisecond. Samuel L. Jackson conveys his usual gravitas and charisma, while Sarah Paulson is a welcome addition to the cast. Bruce Willis however is an outright disaster. The iconic actor looks so detached from the proceedings; it genuinely feels like he doesn’t want to be there. Moreover, instead of editing around him, director M.Night Shyamalan opts for extreme closeups that clearly showcase just how disinterested the actor is. It’s truly shocking!
Of course this being an M. Night Shyamalan film, there’s the requisite last minute twist. Beware: it’s promising in theory but extremely anticlimactic in execution. After such a heavy-handed script that’s everything but subtle, I at least wanted a mind-blowing ending to make the experience worthwhile. No such luck – I left the theater wholly unsatisfied.
Although it has some terrific performances, Glass is an unfortunately disappointing conclusion to Shyamalan’s beloved trilogy.