That’s not to say that that Glass is an entirely terrible movie but our buddy M Night has made some really weird choices with the story.
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Shyamalan is a polarising guy as far as directors go.
The Sixth Sense made him a household name as a breakthrough director and the next big thing by critics. The follow up, Unbreakable was arguably as good and then things started to unravel over the next five or six films, each becoming progressively more mediocre and at times perplexing maybe even self-indulgent, although I thought Signs was ok. He made a great comeback with The Visit and then brought us Split which was brilliant.
Shyamalan is most famous for his plot twists, which have become the rod for his own back because it’s hardly a twist when it’s expected. But, the best one since his first one happened at the end of Split when he tied it to the Unbreakable film, thus building a world where Mr Glass, David Dunn and Kevin Wendell Crumb all existed in the same universe. It had us salivating at the thoughts of a final chapter in a secret trilogy that would bring these characters together. No pressure mate. None at all.
He backs himself for this film though. He quite literally bet the farm on this one, financing it himself, using his house as collateral and teaming up with Blumhouse. It was a smart move given their track record of good films with small budgets. Glass is not an expensive movie compared to your average blockbuster. However, an apparent budget of $20 million leads me to believe that Shyamalan must have a pretty bloody nice house and land package. Comparatively my house would have covered approximately 3 minutes of this movie. It would be the shittiest three minutes too, like an interior still shot or something. If I’m lucky they might tilt or pan the camera and then they’d have to cut.
The story sees Dunn, Glass and Crumb converge in a surprisingly small staffed and poorly guarded psychiatric facility near Philadelphia. It is here that Dr Ellie Staple treats them believing all three patients are suffering some kind of delusion that they are super heroes. Glass has other plans and teams up with the most lethal of Crumb’s 24 personalities, to unleash The Beast. All of this you’ve seen in the trailers so please don’t complain about spoilers.
The calibre of the cast is awesome, as expected. The newest addition being Sarah Paulson as Dr Taylor who does a great job at being the compassionate doctor although something seems a little off. Characters from the previous films return to the undercard too, Charlayne Woodard is back as Mama Glass, Anya Taylor Joy is back as Casey Cooke, the one the Beast let get away, and Spencer Treat Clarke reprises his role from Unbreakable, all grown up as Joseph, son of David, Dunn.
The main event of course is seeing Samuel L. Jackson as Mr Glass—who is great once they get him warmed up—Bruce Willis—who is actually really disappointing as David Dunn—and James McAvoy completely steals the show as Kevin Wendell Crumb. How could McAvoy not be the showstopper though with 24 different personalities to draw thanks to his character’s Dissociative Identity Disorder (or DID for short).
I love McAvoy as these characters, I did in Split too, his performance is mentally exhausting, incredibly physically demanding and utterly brilliant. Although I do appreciate the problem a character like Kevin creates as far as stigmatising people who may actually live with this very real condition. Unfortunately there are a lot of people out there who learn shit from the movies as opposed to facts, and that is terrifying. It’s how Wrestlers become politicians and Reality TV stars end up running countries.
The movie starts out really strong, I was expecting it to build slowly but the first act throws you right into it, it draws out in the middle but it’s still ok and the ending is stupid. I’m sorry but it just is. I feel like Shyamalan, reaching for his signature plot twist worked too hard on wanting to make our heads spin and threw the story into the garbage. I don’t want to spoil anything but it was bitterly disappointing as to why he chose to do what he did with the ending especially with such a refreshing premise to build on.
There was also some plot holes that I found really hard to get over. The main one being them controlling The Beast side of McAvoy’s character with flashes of light. I kept thinking “just go Bird Box challenge mate, cover your eyes and break the fuck out of there”. Also, it was totally ridiculous keeping a serial killer in a facility secured only by a couple of orderlies who could have been knocked down by my three year-old niece.
The character of David Dunn was really undersold too, Bruce Willis rarely steps out of the huge shadows cast by McAvoy and Jackson, another let down, especially following the set up from Split.
The cinematography is really good with the exception of some POV shots during action sequences that were over-used and the soundtrack was effective but forgettable. I was hoping they would have tapped more of the music from Unbreakable to really tie everything together.
Glass is like going out for a three course meal where the entrée and main have been so good that you’re rearing for the dessert, and then Shyamalan comes out as your waiter and serves you a dried out piece of biscotti. It doesn’t really live up to the other courses but thankfully James McAvoy brews a decent coffee for you to dunk it in.