Save for spectacular performances by James McAvoy, Samuel L. Jackson, and Bruce Willis, Glass remains a banal and wearying film.
In an attempt to present a different brand of superhero-based film, Director M. Night Shyamalan has wound up creating a humdrum of a film. Glass, which is the title of the film and the name of one of the lead characters reprised by Samuel L. Jackson, builds on the foundation set by Unbreakable and Split. As a matter of fact, this movie does not even need a prerequisite of having watched both films. It ends up recounting almost all the events of both the previous films and takes an awful amount of time to reach the final “showdown”.
There is a riveting start to this film as we instantly see the merger of Split and Unbreakable happening. Kevin (James McAvoy) has kidnapped girls (which reminds us of the opening scene in Split) but this time we see David (Bruce Willis) rescuing the girls. This sets off a fight between The Beast, most dangerous personality among Kevin’s multiple personalities, and The Overseer, David’s secretive role of finding and punishing the bad people which he discovered towards the end of Unbreakable. Like every superhero film, The Beast and The Overseer does have a weakness for bright lights and water respectively which is used by policemen to capture them and take them to the mental institution where Elijah or the Glass (Samuel L. Jackson) is being treated. From here on, as Dr. Ellie Staple (Sarah Paulson is fantastic in this role) proceeds her work of “taking care of individuals who think they are superheroes”, the films turns absolutely trite. A hackneyed phase of references to Split and Unbreakable ensues as we hanker for something new to happen.
The film did have appreciable things that made up for underwhelming storytelling. The brilliant camera work, that is synonymous with Shyamalan’s films, enhanced the power of some of the scenes on the screen. When an attendee is inside Kevin’s room and is frightened by Kevin changing his personality every few seconds, the camera swings almost at a 180-degree angle to show the terrified face of attendee on the left and the changing personalities of Kevin on the right. Also, when Kevin, David and Elijah are sitting on a chair in a big hall and are being “dissected” by Dr. Ellie, the close-up shot of camera focussing on their faces shows the expression on their face magnificently. Sometimes, a tense environment is created where we get a feeling that something terrifying might happen (Elijah is sitting in his wheelchair outside his room and the attendees have no idea how the door was opened. Or, the scene where Dr. Ellie has come to visit Kevin in his room and different personalities of Kevin comes out randomly. It looks serious as if something dangerous might happen but Dr. Ellie just smiles as there are ‘hypnosis lights’ in the room to keep him under control). West Dylan Thordson’s background score perfectly aligned with the film’s tense mood. The best of all is the surprise element that Shyamalan brings out through Elijah but that could not save the uninteresting final “showdown”. Save for spectacular performances by James McAvoy, Samuel L. Jackson, and Bruce Willis, Glass remains a banal and wearying film.