Saturday, July 6, 2019

Movie Reviews: Glass

directed by M. Night Shyamalan
This film was a sequel to Shyamalan's previous films Unbreakable and Split. It's not really necessary to have seen the previous films although it probably helps. As with most (all??) of Shyamalan's films there are a few surprises and twists which I obviously won't discuss.  

I will say that in this case I thought the twists were, if not transparent from the get go, were pretty much in line with what I thought they would be. And I didn't care for the twists. But as always YMMV. In some aspects you could even look at this movie as an investigation of what happens when the Nietzschean Superman runs into a younger and better looking Nurse Ratched.

David Dunn (Bruce Willis) is a Philadelphia area vigilante. He's able (or so he believes) to know what bad acts someone has committed merely by touching them. Dunn also has far greater than normal strength and endurance.  It's been about two decades since Dunn discovered that he had these abilities, primarily thru the machinations of one Elijah Price aka Mr. Glass (Samuel L. Jackson) a genius comic book nerd and mass murderer who suffers from a rare disease that makes his bones extraordinarily fragile. 

Glass thinks that everything must be in balance so he has to be the supervillain to Dunn's hero. That's why he's arranged various murders and crimes over the years designed to test Dunn or help him realize his true calling. Can't have a good chess game if you're only playing against yourself after all. However Glass has dropped off the radar. 

With the assistance of his son (Spencer Treat Clark) Dunn is on the hunt for a disturbing and disturbed new villain Kevin Crumb (James McAvoy) aka The Horde. Crumb has two dozen different personalities. Some of them are dangerous, others less so. But the most dangerous alternate personality he has is the Beast; this is akin to a werewolf without body hair. Crumb has kidnapped four cheerleaders. He intends to sacrifice the young women to the Beast. Dunn has tracked Crumb down. While Dunn is freeing the girls, he's interrupted by Crumb who soon morphs into the Beast. Battle is joined, but before a clear winner can be determined the police interrupt, subduing and arresting both men.

The police are overseen by Dr. Ellie Staple (Sarah Paulson) who places both men in a mental institution which she oversees. Also resident at that mental institution is Mr. Glass, whom Staple keeps sedated almost to the point of catatonia. Dr. Staple doesn't believe that any of the men have superhuman abilities.  She thinks it's all in their heads. And she is determined to, by any means necessary, see that all three men accept that POV as well. Once they accept that they are deluded then they can be helped.

This kicks off a movie that is much a psychological and even spiritual/religious thriller as it is an action thriller. Like A Clockwork Orange and The Matrix, Glass has something to say about how important it is to be true to yourself, make your own moral choices and tell the truth. 

The viewer may enjoy some of the metaphysical and religious allusions. McAvoy is slightly below average height but put on a good 20 pounds of muscle for his Beast persona. The Beast is not someone you want to run into a dark alley. If you are only familiar with Jackson's roles where he's yelling and browbeating people you might enjoy the actor playing an utterly different character. Mr. Glass doesn't say a lot and is not a man prone to physical exertion. There is violence and threat of same but it's not explicit. There are, along with the expected twists, more than a few plot holes. However McAvoy's ferocity will likely carry you right past those.
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