By Troy Ribeiro
Film: “Glass”; Director: M. Night Shyamalan; Cast: James McAvoy, Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson, Sarah Paulson, Anya Taylor-Joy, Spencer Treat Clark, Charlaye Woodard; Rating: *1/2
Despite suspense and tension built into this dramatic thriller, there is something seriously missing in M. Night Shyamalan’s latest oeuvre “Glass”, and that something is the power-of-convincing.
Only if you are a fan of Shyamalan’s work would you realise that this pop-culture-psychological drama “Glass”, is an unexpected sequel to his two films — the psychological-horror thriller “Split” and the glacial comic-book art film “Unbreakable”.
The narrative of this film is complex and layered, which could lead to a multifaceted philosophical reckoning or at least some sort of a fascinating ideological debate. But unfortunately, the film is presented in such a rushed and haphazard fashion, that it misfires from all angles, never gaining any cerebral tractions.
For those not initiated into Shyamalan’s universe, this film is named after the character Samuel L. Jackson originated in “Unbreakable” — the brittle-boned Elijah Price, a.k.a. Mr. Glass who contended that comic books were not disposable fantasies for adolescents but “an ancient way of passing on history”.
Now, years later he is confined to his wheelchair in a psychiatric hospital where he has been imprisoned and heavily sedated. But it is only near the mid-point that Mr. Glass makes his presence felt.
The narrative begins on the trajectory set in “Split” where Kevin (James McAvoy), a psychopath with multiple distinct personalities, collectively known as The Horde, is on a killing spree. One of his personalities that encourages him to kill, is The Beast.
David Dunn (Bruce Willis) the Security Guard in “Unbreakable” is now a wanted-vigilante, who is assisted by his son Joseph (Spencer Treat Clark). He is methodically tracking the serial killer, who happens to be The Beast.
But soon, before things go out of control, the police capture The Beast and David and take them to the psychiatric hospital where Price has been imprisoned. Here the three of them are subjects of Dr. Ellie Staple (Sarah Paulson) a shrink specialising in patients who believe they are superheroes. How she convinces the trio that their feats all have rational explanations, forms the crux of the tale.
The film reflects on human nature, the struggle between good and evil, all of it coated with that supernatural tone so specific to Shyamalan.
On the performance front, the three actors perfectly camouflaged in their characters give a feeling of deja vu, but nevertheless, as usual James McAvoy steals the show with his astonishing chameleon-like performance.
While Sarah Paulson is staid as Dr. Staple, Anya Taylor-Joy is wasted as Casey Cooke, a survivor of the Beast’s abuse.
Overall, the film is too contrived to be taken seriously and seems like an unfinished product.