REVIEW: ‘Glass’ has Performances Worth the Price of Admission

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Glass

In the days before capes and cowls overtook multiplexes, M. Night Shyamalan delivered Unbreakable; a film that attempted, and succeeded, in taking the conventions of superhero stories and deconstructing them. Unbreakable was considered a success, but a sequel never manifested. That all changed in 2016 with the release of Split; the end of that film tied back to Unbreakable and had film fans reeling with the implications. And now Shyamalan has returned to conclude this strange trilogy with Glass.

Set some time after Split and Unbreakable, Glass finds David Dunn (Bruce Willis) confronting Kevin Wendell Crumb (James McAvoy); a serial killer suffering from DID, dissociative identity disorder. Dunn’s superhuman strength proves more than a match for “The Beast,” the feral identity that lives within Crumb’s body, but both are captured by police and placed under the care of Dr. Ellie Staple (Sarah Paulson), a psychiatrist who attempts to convince them that their abilities are the result of a heightened delusion. Also residing in the facility is Elijah Price (Samuel L. Jackson), the criminally insane terrorist who calls himself “Mister Glass.”  Price and the Beast form an unlikely alliance while Dunn races to stop them.

Glass left me conflicted; there is a lot that works and a lot that doesn’t. The cast is a mixed bag; McAvoy holds the audience’s attention with every one of his personalities, in particular the childish Hedwig, and Willis, while stoic, is far from disinterested. Jackson, despite being the titular character, spends half the movie in a fugue state. It is only when he shares scenes with McAvoy that he sparks to life, a malevolent glee shining in his eyes.

Charlayne Woodward, Spencer Treat Clark, and Anna Taylor-Joy all reprise their roles from Unbreakable and Split as Elijah’s mother, Dunn’s son Joseph, and Casey Cooke respectively. The film has them hovering around the edges, only playing a large part in the third act.

Unfortunately, it is in the third act that the movie stumbles. Those who know Shyamalan know that he loves his twist endings; this movie has three of them. And to be honest, only two of them work, and one actually ends up connecting all three of the films. The third, which involves Doctor Staple’s true nature, comes out of left field-it never feels like it was properly set up. Shyamalan is once again attempting to make a statement about superheroes, comic books, and the role they play in society, but he forgot to account for the fact that these tales are now part of the mainstream. As a result, Glass feels rather dated.

Despite that, Glass is a well shot and well-directed movie. Shyamalan and cinematographer Mike Gioulakis make excellent use of color, particularly in the asylum; Dunn is shaded in blues and greens. When Kevin transforms into the Beast, he is lit in sickly yellow and Mister Glass’ long purple coat and monogrammed tie clips scream “super villain.” Shyamalan also favors close up shots that lets the audience see emotions dancing across the characters’ faces, as their eyes fill with tears or widen in realization. Split composer West Dylan Thordson returns, delivering a haunting, elegiac theme.

If you are a fan of Split or Unbreakable, you will enjoy Glass; for other viewers, I feel that if you can overlook the problems with the script, the direction and performances are worth the price of admission.

Glass is playing nationwide in select theaters.

Glass
  • 7/10
    Rating - 7/10
7/10

TL;DR

If you are a fan of Split or Unbreakable, you will enjoy Glass; for other viewers, I feel that if you can overlook the problems with the script, the direction and performances are worth the price of admission.