Well it indeed feels surreal typing that heading up. I’m finally starting to shake the dust off all the pending posts that I have been keeping. I’ve been busy posting series watch-with-me’s, following a lot of new trend TV shows and what not, and it feels surreal to write up another Double Feature despite it being one of my favorite sections on the blog.
Now this times Double Movie Feature is on D.I.D. or Dissociative Identity Disorder. Google tells us that D.I.D or more commit known as “Multiple Personality Disorder” is a mental disorder in which one person may have more than one distinct personality within them. It’s causes have been linked to things like childhood trauma and many kinds of mental issues accompany this rather unique condition.
Due to its very nature, it’s not surprising that there have been a lot of books,movies and TV series on the show. I have just included these two but there are so many more surely, let me know your recommendations in the comments.
Usually when I pick the objects of my Double Features I try to pick two movies who have stark differences between them but having only one common element – the theme of our double feature. This time we have an English film released somewhat recently in 2016 and a Tamil film released way back in 2005, something that scared me like crazy. This is not the only feature I have done on my blog based on this theme though, I’ve previously done an interesting TV series on this same theme too called – Kill Me, Heal Me .Now as entertaining or interesting these stories get, sometimes these can also tend to cause certain misconceptions in the audience about this condition, something that is definitely not helpful. The movies should be taken in just for entertainment sake, and if you really want to know more facts I suggest you of course ask a qualified professional or read from credible sources. Now onto the feature!
Title : Split
Country of origin : United States
Language : English
Directed and written by : M Night Shyamalan
Starring : James McAvoy, Anya Taylor-Joy, Betty Buckley
Music : West Dylan Thordson
Cinematography : Mike Gioulakis
Released : 20 January 2017
Duration : 117 minutes
Genre : Psychological Horror
Casey Cook attends a birthday party with her friends and agrees to get a lift from her friend Claire’s dad. As they wait in the car a man called Kevin Wendell Crumb knocks out Claire’s father and kidnaps the girls.
He knocks the girls out cold and when they wake up they realise they are being held captive by him. Eventually they realise something is amiss in him, and they find out he has multiple personalities. They meet a ruthless “Dennis” , the innocent and childlike “Hedwig” and a woman called “Patricia”. The girls try to get closer with some of the personas especially Hedwig, in order to escape.
It’s at this point we see the entry of Dr. Fletcher who has been treating Kevin. We soon realise that he has been identified to have 23 distinct personalities within him, all of which appears randomly and continue to overtake the consciousness. A main personality called “Barry” controls everyone mostly with occasional appearances from others. But as the story develops we see that there may be a 24th personality – called “Beast”.
The story of the movie then follows how Casey and her friends try to escape while Kevin has his own battles as the beast tries to come out from within him.
What were my first impressions of the movie? Well firstly it did fit the category of “Psychological thriller” quite well. With a kidnapper having such an extensive array of personas within him, it was really a challenge for the kidnapped to actually identify the persona they maybe they can trust and escape. Those moments when you don’t realise the personas haven’t changed and that you are in big trouble, those moments really gave the chills.
Coming to the actor performances the limelight and the man who stole the show was definitely James McAvoy. It sure is challenging to depict a character on screen but imagine if you had to have not one but 24 personas? He naturally flitted his demeanour, his body language between the characters so well it was quite a sight to watch. However the character Casey Cook was more of a withdrawn kind of character and didn’t really capture my attention completely at times as my focus was always on Kevin.
Dr. Fletcher was an interesting character that was the bridge that showed us what and how Kevin was like. Although the later parts of the film was pure ghastly, I kind of imagined a better outcome for her.
Speaking of how the story wrapped up, I’m kid of sad that we didn’t get to see all the personas. Only a few of them were shown, with special emphasis of course on “Beast”. Up until the depiction of Beast I was quite satisfied with the depiction of the condition no matter the level of fiction mixed in, but I felt that the beast character kind of killed the reality out of it? I also expected a more back story of Kevin, not just his sessions with Dr. Fletcher but more on what really brought him to what he is, and how he dealt with his normal life up until the instances of the movie? That would have been interesting as well.
Despite that, the movie was entertaining and held us glued onto the screens as we waited with bated breath to know what happens to Casey and of course Kevin. I also understand the film is the second of a trilogy, a trilogy I am interested to check out soon!
And onto the second movie of the feature –
Anniyan (trans. Stranger) (2005)
Title : Anniyan (trans. Stranger)
Country of origin : India
Language : Tamil (later dubbed in Telugu, Hindi and French)
Directed and Story by : S Shankar
Written by : Sujatha (dialogue)
Starring : Vikram,Sadha, Nedumudi Venu, Vivek, Prakash Raj, Nassar
Music : Harris Jayaraj
Cinematography : Ravi Varman and V Manikandan
Released : 17 June 2005
Duration : 181 minutes
The story starts with the righteous consumer rights advocate Ramanujam Iyengar who everyone fondly calls Ambi. Being the righteous person he is, he stands for what is right and lawful and expects others to be so as well, which is definitely not the case. He appeals for cases in the right way but the corrupted culprits somehow always find a way out of it. His anger and frustration builds up into him developing another persona called Anniyan.
Now Anniyan’s routes of implementing justice are quite practical. Based on ancient scripture be declares the punishment for these law breaker and kills them. The methods include frying a person alive, having a man’s blood completely sucked out by blood hungry leeches out of the several methods. Yes, I know it’s ghastly. Although he uses methods from ancient scriptures his hitlist and method of communication is via a dark wen sorts of website.
Ambi has a huge crush on Nandini but fears rejection. He eventually opens up his feelings and is rejected as she doesn’t like his level of righteousness. The subsequent trauma from that results in a third persona – Remo, a cool, modern guy whose ramp walk ready and can sing and dance. To no one’s surprise Nandini and Remo start a romantic relationship. However one day Nandini takes Ambi to the registrar office and tries some non-traditional methods realated to some land assets which leads to Anniyan deciding to punish her. But an altercation of the personas leads Ambi to collapse and be diagnosed with D.I.D. While this is happening two police officers are hot on the trail to catch Anniyan.
As much as a cringe fest this movie may seem now, you cannot deny the fact that it was and remains an iconic movie in Tamil cinema. The audience was exposed to a fresh new theme and many like me had no idea conditions like this could happen. It’s also kind of nostalgic to me because unlike streaming services we have then we had to wait ages to get a CD and sit in front of the TV With all the cousins and family to watch this movie. A young me definitely got scared at some parts with the leeches and the frying too.
Although it looks like I let out a lot in the story there’s a lot more in the movie. Like I mentioned on how I wish I could have known what happened for Kevin to become what he was in Split, the movie covers exactky that. A later part of the film covers the horrible story behind what affected Ambi to become like this. Speaking of which the movie wasn’t just on the condition but also on corruption, justice, friendship, romance and it leaves us wondering what is really right or wrong.
The movie also has some impressive acting from Vikram. I’m sure for those who have watched the film would remember the scene ay the top where Vikram flits between his personas during a questioning with the police. Another thing I liked was the setting that surrounded the three personas. Some things are not understandable as to how Ambi developed into Remo and the very next day he happened to be a lead model at a fashion show?
The movie has its extraness for sure. Music was also a large focus in this movie. With songs like Kumaari in the backdrop of an enormous tulip garden or songs like Kannum Kannum Nokia that make us wonder how the lyrics came to be.
Aside from all that, the movie was a brave effort that paid off well at the time with a huge grossing at the box office. I also liked Prakash Raj’s performance as the police officer behind Anniyan. As a police officer he should be the one to hold up the law and Anniyans take on it is something to ponder. However it would always be better to have an orderly system, without corruption or bribes or anything at all, but it’s a long way away in some cases. But let’s hope for the best on that! Anyway as far as this film goes it an undeniable fact that it’s an audience favorite and remains so as we are yet to see more films take up fresh new topics although we see vast amlunts of improvement there.
So that’s it for my double feature on D.I.D.! What did you think of the two features? Have you watched the films and do you have more recommendations for this theme? I’m sure there are many more interesting movies, books and TV series based on the theme that I would love to check out! Let me know in the comments!