Reviewed by: Francisco Gomez Jr.
Believe in yourself or believe in God?
Who is SATAN, the enemy of God and all people? Answer
Is Satan A REAL PERSON that influences our world today? Is he affecting you? Answer
What is SIN AND WICKEDNESS? Is it just “bad people” that are sinners, or are YOU a sinner? Answer
Are you good enough to get to Heaven? Answer
How good is good enough? Answer
Disease: Type I osteogenesis imperfecta
Why does God allow innocent people to suffer? Answer
What about the issue of suffering? Doesn’t this prove that there is no God and that we are on our own? Answer
Does God feel our pain? Answer
Did God make the world the way it is now? What kind of world would you create? Answer
Dissociative identity disorder
Evolution or Creation: What difference does it make? Answer
What is Secular Humanism? Answer
Bruce Willis … David Dunn / The Overseer
James McAvoy … Kevin Wendell Crumb … The Horde / The Beast / Jade (a teenage girl), Orwell (an introverted man), Barry (the dominant personality), Patricia (an orderly, polite woman), Hedwig (a 9-year-old boy), Mary Reynolds, Dennis (a perverted personality), Norma, B.T, Mr. Pritchard, Jelin, and Samuel
Samuel L. Jackson … Elijah Price / Mr. Glass
Sarah Paulson … Dr. Ellie Staple, a psychiatrist specializing in delusions of grandeur
Anya Taylor-Joy … Casey Cooke—a young girl who was kidnapped by one of Kevin’s personalities as a potential sacrifice to “The Beast” and survived
Luke Kirby … Pierce
Spencer Treat Clark … Joseph Dunn—David’s son
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|Director:||M. Night Shyamalan|
|Producer:||Blinding Edge Pictures
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“Belief in Oneself is Contagious”
Kevin (James McAvoy) and David (Bruce Willis) are captured by Dr. Staple (Sarah Paulson). The pair are taken into a psychiatric ward where Elijah Prince (Samuel L. Jackson)—who refers to himself as Mr. Glass—is being held under heavy sedation due to his extreme intelligence.
Dr. Staple is a psychiatrist that specializes in delusions of grandeur. Her job is to convince the trio that their actions and perception of abilities is misconstrued due to mental illness, and that they need to face their trauma rather than caving to their delusions as a coping mechanism. That is as much as I can say about the plot, since the film—in classic Shyamalan style—is filled with plot twists and subversion of expectations.
Let’s briefly discuss moviemaking quality before we get into content for possible concern.
Shyamalan’s writing has long been his greatest strength and biggest weakness. When he has a clear direction, his writing is superlative, but he has recently lacked his focused cohesion. However, it is rare to see both sides of his writing in one film. Shyamalan introduces many fascinating themes and attempts to further deconstruct and satirize the superhero genre—a theme that has been popular in a film market completely saturated by it—but often his execution of the themes is rather dull. Rather than exploring the narrative through the characters and their actions, he often has the characters just sit around and talk about it. The film’s pacing is very slow as a consequence.
The dialog is not bad, and is often interesting, if you pay attention. However, for a smaller scaled film, the tone is scattered. I did not know if it was a psychological thriller, mystery, horror, or comedy. His attempt to include a little of all those genres—as he did in “Split”—fails this time around. There are simply so many characters and threads, that adding the multiple genre elements results in a convoluted, and often boring film.
The inconsistent tone throws the audience through a loop early on, and I did not know how to feel by the end. This muddles the interesting themes Shyamalan wants to bring forward, because there is no clear emotional relation established between the film and the audience.
Its narrative roller coaster is a shame, because Mike Gioulakis’ cinematography is superb, as is typical. West Thordson provides a fantastic score to go along with the interesting imagery. The acting—particularly James McAvoy—is often fantastic. However, they are often stuck trying to bring life to a story that moves back and forth from good to bad. I suspect the efforts from these individuals that bring moments of real highs to the film will be enough for some audiences to ignore the film’s flaws.
Personally, the film’s highs and lows equaled to being an average film, in terms of moviemaking quality.
Refreshingly, the film’s content does not glorify its violence, and its language is not as prolific as other films of its same rating. However, there is content to take under consideration—especially for those who are sensitive to violence.
Violence: Heavy. This is the film’s biggest cause for concern. There are multiple deaths. The most gruesome are implied, and violence is often not shown explicitly, to comply with its MPAA rating. A man is squeezed to death, and then bludgeoned on the ground. Another man has his throat slit. Teenage girls are held captive and chained at the beginning.
Language/Profanity: Strong language is not prolific, but it uses heavy words when it does so. Instances of the s-word warrants, a “Heavy” rating from me. There are two instances of the Lord’s name used in vain.
Drugs/Alcohol: Other than Mr. Glass being sedated medically, and a couple of dinner shots where alcoholic beverages are barely visible, there are no instances of actual use.
Nudity: Mild. Kevin takes his shirt of when he is about to turn into the “beast.”
The central theme of the film is “belief in oneself.” The characters struggle with their identity. Wondering if their abilities are real or a delusion caused by trauma. They are being told by Dr. Staple and others, what they are, and it confuses what they should do and who they should be. I think everyday people are confronted with this issue. Especially younger people. The world often tells us how we should act, dress, and what we should believe. Social media often makes young—and even older people—feel more alone. Everyone posts their best image, and tries to eliminate the negative visible aspects of their lives.
Just like our own version of delusions of grandeur. Teenage girls and boys struggle with their self-image, more than ever, because they cannot live up to the photo manipulated images of models on social media. Where should we find our sense of identity? We must view our life through the eyes of our Creator, and not through secular ideals.
“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” —Psalm 139:14
Scripture makes it clear that God created us, and that being made in His image gives us worth. However, Satan and sin distort this image. Violence against our neighbor, sexual impurity, and overall bad relationships degrade the significance with which God made us. This is why the Gospel is so important. The only eternally fulfilling identity is within Christ. He restores our relationship with God, and with others—which is the basis for the two greatest commandments.
“‘Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’.” —Matthew 22:36-39
If we believe and proclaim Jesus as our Lord and Savior, then Scripture tells us we have a new eternally fulfilling identity in him.
We must shed our worldly conceptions of identity and embrace our worth in Christ, and share the Gospel with others so that they may participate in that joy with us! If you would like to know more about starting a relationship with Jesus Christ click here.
M. Night Shyamalan’s direction brings brilliant moments to the film, but it most often contains lulls. However, the film is heightened through its strong acting and technical performances. It contains negative content that should be taken into consideration if you are thinking of watching. As always,
“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” —Proverbs 4:23
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.