Saturday 15 June 2019

Glass ★★☆☆☆

M. Night Shyamalan’s has got to have one of the most inconsistent filmographies in the history of cinema. When he’s good, he’s great (The Sixth Sense) and when he’s bad, he’s bloody abysmal (The Happening). His latest film, Glass, sits somewhere in between his two opposite levels of quality, with a resounding and disappointing “meh”. 

In 2016, Shyamalan made a comeback with Split. The psychological thriller introduced audiences to The Horde (James McAvoy), a man with 23 different personalities, as he kidnapped and imprisons three teenage girls in an isolated underground facility. As the film goes on, we learn more about the so-called “Beast”, one of his personalities with super-strength and abilities. If you haven’t seen the film, I strongly recommend it – it’s a bloody good watch, thanks mainly to an absolutely phenomenal performance from McAvoy. But as you all know, the film ended with a shocking reveal that it was, in fact, a sequel to M. Night’s Unbreakable all along. Shortly after the release of Split, Shyamalan revealed the unsurprising news that he was working on a film which would bring together the characters from both films for a showdown. The result was Glass.

Following the conclusion of Split, Glass finds David Dunn (Bruce Willis) pursuing the superhuman figure of The Horde (McAvoy) in a series of escalating encounters, while the shadowy presence of Elijah Price/Mr Glass (Samuel L. Jackson) emerges as an orchestrator who holds secrets critical to both men.

While it is initially rather exciting to revisit the characters of Dunn and Price after almost 20 years, the novelty soon wears off when it becomes abundantly clear that they are both too old for this shit. The whole thing reeks of a missed opportunity – it is, quite simply, too late. Years ago, this might’ve been a goer, but in 2019 it hits the ground with an almighty thud. That’s not to say the film is without positives. James McAvoy is, again, just stunning in the role of The Horde. He makes every single one of the personalities feel like its own layered character and it is simply staggering to watch him work in these films. A straight-up sequel to Split without this shoehorned Unbreakable link would’ve been the way to go because McAvoy’s Horde is one of the best supernatural characters in years.

The film suffers from a feeling of opportunistic desperation, creating a cinematic universe that absolutely nobody asked for. We did not need to revisit Dunn and Price and we certainly didn’t need to expand the universe they lived in – Unbreakable was a nice little self-contained slice of early 00s cinema with a lot of happy nostalgic memories attached. Bringing these characters back is akin to flogging a dead horse, and leaves such a sour taste in the mouth that it actually impacts one’s happy memories of the original film. Glass is a mess. Filled with narrative cock-ups and missed opportunities, you’ll spend the whole time yelling at the television in disbelief and anger at the paths the film is inexplicably taking. It’s an enormous disappointment, but then again, what did we really expect from this convoluted premise from the man who brought us The Happening, After Earth and The Visit? Glass is another shattered mess from ol’ M. Night. 

Sam Love

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