Glass Movie Review - High-minded but lacks lucidity and cohesion

Published: Jan 18, 2019, 17:07 IST | Johnson Thomas

James McAvoy is simply the best thing about this movie. His enthusiasm and effort in playing out multiple personalities is extraordinary

Glass Movie Review - High-minded but lacks lucidity and cohesion


U/A: Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi
Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Cast: Sarah Paulson, Bruce Willis, James McAvoy
Rating: Ratings

Shyamalan’s earliest films (The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, Signs) were brilliant, they intrigued, shocked and entertained all at the same time. The same cannot be said about the films that came later. The big budget ones especially were all jumbled up and schlocky. It felt as though the director never really achieved his vision. ‘Glass’ is a far better effort in terms of visual context but it fails on cohesion and lucidity – especially in the third act dominated by Shyamalan’s signature twists.

Glass, a sort of sequel to both Unbreakable and Split, spends its two hours plus without a strong story to tell. It is every bit as inconceivable and snaky a film as his worst but it still has a psychological depth that could have amounted to much more - if only the director had been a little more focussed. There’s so much he is wanting to say that it all gets lost in the confusion and incoherence brought on by a lack of emphasis.

Glass opens with Dunn(Willis) tracking down Split's villain, Kevin Wendell Crumb aka 'The Horde' (James McAvoy), a serial killer suffering from multiple personality disorder who has been preying on girls in the Philadelphia area. After some visceral action Dunn and Crumb are captured and taken to a secret wing of a psychiatric hospital also housing Mister Glass(Jackson) – to be studied by Dr. Ellie Staple (Sarah Paulson), a psychiatrist obsessed with decoding the phenomenon of men who believe themselves to possess the powers of comic book characters.

Check out the trailer here:

This is an indie film (in partnership with Blumhouse)with no big studio backing it so there are budget constraints which Shyamalan could have overcome by running a tighter ship. Shyamalan manages to get close to poignant and memorable but the third act(rather threadbare) pulls you off that track all the way through. The twists don’t make much sense and in fact renders the entire work rather directionless.

The build-up is pretty good even though the action is all visual, internalised and verbose but the third and final act fails to make something out of that. The director and DP Michael Gioulakis manage to compose some fascinating and striking visual mayhem but it doesn’t amount to anything powerful. If you followed ‘Unbreakable’ and ‘Split’ then there is a chance that you might cotton on to Shyamalan’s wavelength but for a large part of the audience this is going to be a film without a strong sense of purpose.

James McAvoy is simply the best thing about this movie. His enthusiasm and effort in playing out multiple personalities is extraordinary. Jackson wakes up from his stupor a little late and loses out on creating an impact while Willis looks on strategically- the thing he does best I guess. This is at best a baffling and inconsistent exercise in cinema!

Also Read: James McAvoy on Glass co-star Bruce Willis: He is most chilled dude

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