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Meet Mr James McAvoy: actor, dad, divorcee (pending), Scotsman, adoptive north Londoner, Celtic fan, gym lad (if forced), biker, X-Man, whisky enthusiast (lapsed, by necessity), swearer (he fucking loves swearing). Actually meet Messrs James McAvoy, plural. Very much plural.
In his new film, Split, Mr McAvoy plays a man with dissociative identity disorder. That is, multiple personalities reside within a damaged individual known as Kevin. He is peopled by more than 20 personalities. Given that Split is the creation of Mr M Night Shyamalan, the writer/director/auteur behind deathless chiller The Sixth Sense – and several other almost as scary but not quite so good films (Unbreakable, Signs, Lady In The Water) – these personalities are not all cuddly and kooky. A couple of them are downright malevolent, notably Dennis.
Dennis is the first Mr McAvoy we see on screen. He’s a bulked-up, buttoned-up, neat-freak nutjob, who gets the party started by gassing and kidnapping three teenage girls, then imprisoning them in an isolated hellhole somewhere in Philadelphia’s urban sprawl. The only other residents are the alternate Mr McAvoys, who include a camp New York fashionista called Barry, a prim Englishwoman named Patricia and a lisping nine-year-old boy who goes by the name Hedwig. All of them played with screen-burning relish by a 37-year-old bloke from Glasgow. Continue reading