Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Writer: M. Night Shyamalan
Actors: James McAvoy, Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson, Sarah Paulson, Anya Taylor-Joy
M. Night Shyamalan has built up a reputation for himself as being the guy with the “twists”. A good twist can obviously really improve a film. What once seemed like a run of the mill film can become something totally different with the introduction of a twist. Fight Club, The Usual suspects, Primal Fear, Planet of the Apes, Seven, and many more are just some examples of films which used twists right. The thing about twists is that they need to compliment the film. Whether it be needing a second watch because you now understand what happens in the end so it changes the whole experience. Or maybe it just reinforces the already great story and elevates it to a new level. It should not be used to just leave a lasting impression while forgetting about the entire film. The problem I always had with M. Night Shyamalan is that his films seem to be “okay I know this is boring, confusing, and bland but just you wait for that ending oh boy just you wait”. That isn’t how it should work. The film itself should be able to stand on its own. It should not be carried by a clever idea at the end. Now, I am not saying M. Night failed in every execution of a twist ending. Some may argue that Sixth Sense is a good example. It wasn’t really my thing. But a Shyamalan film I did enjoy was Unbreakable. That film is in my mind the best thing he has ever put out. Obviously its not perfect, but there was a lot of thought put into the film, and as a whole it worked. So you would imagine in 2016 when I saw Split in the theaters I was just so shocked that he actually made the film itself be the twist. I did not know how to feel about it, because I enjoyed unbreakable and was afraid it would be ruined by what is to come. Well, it was ruined, he should have kept it at Unbreakable in my eyes and had Split be a stand alone film. Nevertheless this is what we got, so let’s talk about Glass.
The big issue I have with Glass is that it does what I mentioned above is a bad way to incorporate a twist. It makes the twist have so much weight, that the rest of the film has no care put into it. With Glass being generally low budget compared to other feature films nowadays, it shows in the quality. The first hour and a half of this film is absolute dribble. The plot quickly tries to get all of the pieces lined up together in the hospital. The problem is once they enter the mental hospital we are subjected to this lengthy repetitive arc of Sarah Paulson’s character trying to convince the three that it is all in their heads. It just drags on, and I was watching it just bored and annoyed. I mean you dont even believe what she is saying and I’m surprised M. Night wrote a character like this. Kevin justifies his power by telling her he was shot by a shotgun at point blank distance. Her response was along the lines of “they were old bullets and the place was damp which caused some issues with the pellets thats why you survived a shotgun to your bare body”. It was too over the top. I’ve seen other reviewers such as Mark Kermode say that if you just allow yourself to believe the ridiculous you would be able to enjoy the movie. Which is true. I think if you just believe in this overly ridiculous world you may get enjoyment out of the film. As for me I wasn’t able to be pulled into it. It was too silly for my taste. Unbreakable managed to straddle a great balance between silliness and being serious and meaningful. With Glass, all of that is thrown out of the window and the silliness is ramped up to 11.
Moving along to what I thought was the silliest aspect of the film, the ending. My god. This film felt like an hour and a half of bland fluff. And a final half hour of Guinness Book of Records attempt at most twists per minute. M. Night was just throwing as many twists as possible and none of them landed. The main one being the “reveal” of Sarah Paulson’s character. When she extends her arm and we see a clover tattoo. The movie seemed to hint at the fact that we should be blown away by this. But no, we literally don’t even know what this is, and it takes around another 5 minutes for the film to actually show us what this group is all about. This just dilutes the whole shock factor that M. Night was trying to go for. It was just so dumb, and I really didn’t enjoy what he tried to do. He forcefully tied up all these stories to try to connect them all but he just ended up making a mess. I wish he just kept it at Unbreakable, I don’t think I will be able to watch that film again without the tainted image of the conclusion in Glass.
Glass is a strange film. I have obviously never seen a director that creates a trilogy in such a way. But I feel like M. Night missed the ball on so many aspects of the film. The cheap film making just made everything very amateurish and not in a good way. Coupled with the fact that the first half of the film is very repetitive and overall a drag to get through. Finally, he ends the film with so many “twists” that they all lost their potency. The film needed focus. This was just a mess. If there is anything I want you to get from this review is to just go and watch Unbreakable. Forget about Glass. Unbreakable is worth it I think. It is unfortunate it will forever be tainted by this mess of a film.