Split (DVD) : Review

Film

Three girls, Casey (Anya Taylor-Joy – Morgan), Claire (Haley Lu Richardson), and Marcia (Jessica Sula) are kidnapped by a man (James McAvoy – X-Men: Apocalypse, X-Men: Days of Future Past) with a diagnosed 23 distinct personalities. They must try to escape before the apparent emergence of a frightful new 24th.

The film leave little time at the beginning to introduce the characters, so much like the girls, we are left wondering and in a state of confusion. Within minutes, they are taken, knowing nothing of the fate of Casey’s father (Sebastian Arcelus) who was about to drive them all home after a birthday party.

Not long after they awake in their new surrounds, when the girls meet the many personalities of their captor.

Split is a masterful performance by McAvoy. While his character has a great many personalities, we only meet about half of those, but each is delivered as a totally new character, with the actor transforming himself, sometimes mid-scene, into something totally different.

Following the films cinema release, there was talk about how it misrepresents actual real-life disorders, but viewers should sit back and enjoy the art, the talent and the engrossing story of Split, that takes one on a thrill ride as tension mounts, and more of both friend and foe are revealed. And word of warning, keep the film running into the end credits, as there is one final reveal.

A thrilling, and engrossing story. Split is certainly a film to see, and a cinematic world to behold.

Disc

Audio and video on the main feature, on the disc, are of a good quality, technically. The main feature is a thoroughly engrossing, and entertaining film in its own right.

Navigation is not the greatest on the disc, with timeouts, that navigate away from sub-menus, or start the main feature. And a main menu comprised of symbols for navigation.

Split is available now, to purchase on disc, in South Africa.

Video

Video on the main feature is encoded at a high average bitrate. There are no visible artefacts on-screen, and no colour bleed visible at a normal viewing distance. Once scaled up to a larger and higher resolution screen, there is a small amount visible when viewed up close, but totally forgivable.

Detail in darker scenes is maintained, with most scenes having a great amount of contrast. Colour in applicable scenes are vibrant.

There are compression artefacts and some colour bleed visible on the menus, but having these compressed to a higher level means more space on the disc for the main title, and this does not impact the overall viewing experience.

Audio

Audio for the main feature is encoded at a high average bitrate, and presented in both a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix. There is a 2.0 downmix available with a descriptive audio service, but to play the film itself, without this service would require the downmix ability in the viewers player hardware or software.

Dialogue is clear via the centre channel, with the weight of the soundtrack carried by the front channels. Use of the surrounds serves to further expand the on-screen world in scenes, further drawing the viewing into the story.

Navigation

Navigation is once again the frustrating list of cryptic symbols as is found on many a disc distributed by Next Entertainment, where guesswork is the name of the game. The usual, and frustrating tendency for a sub-menu to timeout and navigate back to the main menu is once again present, as is the timeout that will eventually start the main feature after an amount of time spent inactive on the main menu.

Taking this control away from a viewer might be a way to assist with the cryptic navigation buttons on the disc (triangle on the main menu once again means play the main feature), but for most users, this is likely to be an annoyance.

Selecting the book looking symbol takes on to the chapters sub-menus, where the viewer is presented with four large, colour, still thumbnails per menu. While these are numbered, they are not labelled, meaning that there is an amount of guesswork needed when wishing to navigate to a particular spot in the film.

Next up on the main menu is the asterix symbol, that takes one to the bonus features sub-menus. These menus have text labels, making navigation a lot easier than on the main menu. The big image looking word “bonus” at the bottom of these menus is also a navigation option, leading from the deleted scenes sub-menu back to the bonus features sub-menu. This is not immediately apparently.

The next symbol on the main menu is a speaker icon, taking on to a sub-menu to choose language. This contains a text list of available audio menus, where one can choose the desired 5.1 mix.

The last symbol on the main menu is a paper looking icon, with a few lines. This navigates to a subtitles sub-menu, with a text list of available subtitle languages, or a choice to select none, which is the default.

Bonus Features

Alternate Ending – This alternate ending can be viewed with, or without, an introduction by the films writer and director M. Night Shyamalan. He explains the reason why this particular ending was not used in the film. While the introduction and ending together are rather short, they do provide an insight into the creative process behind the actual films ending.

Deleted Scenes – There are nine scenes that were removed from the final edit of the main feature. These can be viewed here, again with the option of an introduction for each by writer and director M. Night Shyamalan. Each scene can be viewed individually, or as part of a playlist that will play each scene in order. While deleted scenes can be interesting, and sometimes provide further insight into the film, it is the respective introductions for each that actually provide the greater value, and perhaps some insight to any filmmakers watching.

The Making of Split – Various behind the scenes footage, and interviews with both the cast and director, sharing both their own experiences and a great deal of insight into their respective characters, and some information about the film. A featurette that is sure to interest both the average viewer and budding filmmakers alike.

The Many Faces of James McAvoy – A look at the masterful and talented James McAvoy who played a great many of the films central characters. The video shares with the viewer a piece of this talent, and how McAvoy approached these many characters and personalities. Again, this would interest not just the average viewer, or even budding filmmakers, but a great bit of insight for any actor too.

The FIlmmaker’s Eye: M. Night Shyamalan – Shaymalan shares his process as writer, director and producer, getting the story from one stage of development to the next, to eventually and up on screen. Once again, some interesting insight into the whole process of creating a film, and information that is sure to appeal to many.

There is a single trailer for The Mummy, which autoplays at the beginning of the disc. This can be fast-forwarded, or skipped. It is not accessible again, via any menu on the disc itself.

Published by Andrew Germishuys

Founder of SAMDB, Andrew has worked full time in the film industry since the early 2000's. He has trained as an actor, completing his LAMDA Gold Medal, and attending many courses in Cape Town acting studios, with masterclasses with some of the international industries top directors, producers and filmmakers. Working as an actor and armourer in the film and television industry have given Andrew a great balance of skills across the board when it comes to the entertainment industry. Catch him on Twitter: twitter.com/andrewgerm_za And IMDb: www.imdb.com/name/nm5390453/

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