Glass: An Underwhelming Addition To The Eastrail 177 Trilogy With Promising Ideas & Heavy-Handed Execution
Movie Review by Trijai Nerthi (Rocheston Certified Movie Critic)
If you walk through M. Night Shyamalan’s filmography, you’ll instantly realize that it’s a mixed bag. A few films like Sixth Sense and Unbreakable were brilliant while the others ranged from mediocre to poor until a promising Split came along and turned the tide of his flops. So, it is understandable that Glass, a sequel to Unbreakable and split brings along a heap of expectations with it. As expected, the film is based on a mind-boggling logline, it has more than a few intriguing ideas and thoroughly entertaining scenes. The film also has strong performances. But does it make the impact it intends to? Sadly, like many previous Shymalan films, this one’s execution doesn’t live up to the hype, the ideas create.
As the third installment in the Eastrail 177 trilogy, Glass picks up from two weeks after the events of Split. David Dunn (Bruce Willis) and his son, Joe (Spencer Treat Clark), try to hunt down Kevin (James McAvoy) after hearing of his recent crimes. They set off to confront him at an abandoned warehouse and right as the tension rises, the three of them are captured by the police and sent to a psychiatric facility under the precedence of Dr. Ellie Staple (Sarah Paulson). Soon after they are admitted, Dr. Staple announces to them, that her job is to rid people of their grand delusions. The third inhibitor of the facility is the mastermind, Elijah Price aka Mr.Glass (Samuel L Jackson). The study of these three anti-heroes and the ruckus they bring to the place forms the crux of the film.
There is no denying the fact that Glass, is a bold thriller. It opens with a few remarkable, action-packed scenes that are bound to have you on the edge of your seat. The ideas that tie the plot together too are inventive. Starting from the way these dangerous inmates are kept within bars in the facility to the way they confront each other, every scene is crafted with imagination. But the film loses its way after a while because of its long running time and its failure to merge the genre of its two prequels, Unbreakable and Split.
When Shyamalan introduced a shocking twist in Split that revealed that Unbreakable and Split are a part of the same universe, the fans of the director were left speechless. It left you wondering how one would merge two such varied genres? You have an enthralling horror on one hand and a slow-moving drama on the other. The result of merging the two should’ve been challenging and awe-inspiring. Instead, it comes as a disappointment with a tactless security team, obvious plot-holes and laughable twists that drown in the film’s philosophy. In trying to not make this film just another super-hero affair, Shyamalan slaps on it, heavy-handed philosophy and relentless monologues that grow wearier by the minute.
The climax set in the parking lot is the worst part of the film. It is riddled with logical loopholes in plenty and loses itself in its meta-commentary on the world of comics. To tease fans with ideas that never come to fruition satisfactorily is one of the predominant reasons why the director’s bold statements in the film will leave you annoyed.
As Kevin Wendell Crumb, James McAvoy is a dream. He plays and shifts between twenty-four characters with utmost ease. He receives most of the screen-time and in that time, he switches between different voices, body language, and emotions with a whole lot of confidence. His ‘Beast’ impression still induces fear and that by itself is an achievement. Sarah Paulson has a lot of screen-time too, but considering the one-dimensional way her character has been written, her scenes could’ve been trimmed off. Most of her monologues become tiring to sit through after a point. Actors, Samuel Jackson and Willis are terribly underused and this comes as a disappointment because both of them appear to be in form too.
Visually, the film is stylish, threatening and at times suspenseful too. Cinematographer Mike Gioulakis fills the film with menacing frames that leaves you in anticipation of the horror that might follow. Bringing back a few themes from Unbreakable, music director West Dylan Thordson has kept the soundtrack subtle yet effective. The music grows on you as does the film’s leisurely pace.
On the whole, Glass definitely isn’t Shyamalan’s best. It doesn’t live up to the punch Split leaves you with. But it does pack in many great ideas and a few great scenes. None of these ideas thrive due to the sub-par execution and heavy-handed narration.