'Glass' movie review: Between 'Unbreakable' and 'Split'

M. Night Shyamalan's 'superhero' trilogy closes with a mixed bag

David Dunn, the sole survivor of Eastrail 177 from 'Unbreakable' and Kevin Wendell Crumb, the man with 24 personalities including the cannibalistic Beast from 'Split' collide, with Elijah Price or 'Mr. Glass' seemingly controlling their every move. In the midst of this is Ellie Staple, a psychiatrist specialising in 'individuals with delusions of grandeur' and everyone who was affected by the three men.

When M. Night Shyamalan first released 'Unbreakable' all the way back in 2000, it gained a strong cult following given how it treated comic books, along with the engaging performances by Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson.

And then, when he released 'Split' in 2016, viewers were taken aback at both James McAvoy's ability to portray multiple personalities with creepy levels of honesty and how it was actually a sequel to Unbreakable.

'Glass', the closing chapter of this saga, seems to want to achieve the same kind of surprise that the two films garnered back during their release.

It starts off with David, who has been tracking Kevin, now going by the name 'The Horde', and engaging him in combat - before they are both captured and institutionalised at a psychiatric hospital, where Ellie Staple takes over their treatment and vows to 'cure' them.

To David's surprise, the hospital also plays host to his archenemy: Elijah, who orchestrated the incidents of Unbreakable. For his part, Elijah is a completely harmless person who can do no harm but the staff is wary of him nonetheless because of his intelligence.

M. Night Shyamalan has had an inconsistent oeuvre, to put it mildly. He went from directing the masterpiece in "The Sixth Sense" to mediocre C-grade horror in "Devil". 'Glass' sits somewhere between those two, gravitating ever so slightly but never quite pointing to either side of his directorial spectrum.

The cinematography is impeccable and it is refreshing to see that the camera doesn't have jarring cuts and instead relies on panning shots, first-person perspective and slow takes to show the events as they unfold.

However, the story itself is somewhat bland. At the end of the day, it's little more than two bad guys teaming up to stop one good guy. The respite here is Ellie Staple, who adds a logical counter to Mr. Glass' perspective, and the way the film uses the people related to the three men.

'Glass' also tries to be creepy at various points, but barring a handful of scenes near the middle of the film, it feels like it's trying too hard to be something it can't be. It would've been better if the film went all-in on being either an action thriller or a psychological thriller.

If there is something apart from the cinematography that cannot be faulted, it is the characterisation. M. Night Shyamalan took the best route possible with 'Glass' of not fixing what isn't broken and is simply content with melding David, Kevin and Elijah into something of a cohesive entity.

To sum it up, 'Glass' is something of a mixed bag. The cinematography and straightforward character use masks the otherwise plain plot and wannabe creepy vibe, but enough of the weaker bits creep out for it to be distracting at times. M. Night Shyamalan raises some interesting questions but whether the answers to those questions are satisfying is for the viewers to decide.


Glass

Directed and written by: M. Night Shyamalan

Cast: Bruce Willis, James McAvoy, Samuel L.Jackson, Sarah Paulson, Anya Taylor-Joy

Score: 2.5/5

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'Glass' movie review: Between 'Unbreakable' and 'Split'

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