In his latest film Glass, director M. Night Shyamalan (The Sixth Sense, Signs, The Village) offers a rather disappointing sequel to two of his prior movies, namely the critically acclaimed psychological thriller Split (2016) and the mystery drama Unbreakable (2000). Reuniting three main characters from these films, the director attempts to created a universe in which the faiths of these characters are bound together by destiny, but he ultimately fails to offer anything resembling a coherent story and in the end has to resort to the same old tired tropes we’ve come to expect from him.
Bruce Willis reprises his role as vigilante superhero David Dunn, while James McAvoy is back in utterly brilliant form once again as Kevin Wendell Crumb, a serial killer with multiple personality disorder. When four cheerleaders from a nearby high school are abducted by Crumb, Dunn walks the streets looking for him and the girls. Things come to a head when the two men finally come face to face, resulting in one of Crumb’s personalities, the aptly named The Best, to appear and take on Dunn outside a disused warehouse. There, both Crumb and Dunn are cornered by the police and placed under arrest in a hospital for the mentally unstable, and under the watchful eye of Dr. Ellie Staple (Sarah Paulson).
Later, we come to realise that Elijah Price, AKA Mr Glass (Samuel L Jackson) is also present at the same facility and undergoing the same tests to prove that all three individuals are severely disturbed and have fabricated an imaginary world they must be freed from.
While it’s plainly evident that Shyamalan has a great deal of confidence in the stories he wants to tell, you can’t help but feel that audiences are less inclined to buy into his increasingly convoluted narratives year in year out. In the case of Glass, there seems to be very little pay-off in the story or its denouement despite the director and his cast’s best effort to keep us invested.
Glass doesn’t so much as answer any questions, instead it relies way too often on its audience’s willingness to stay engaged in this increasingly preposterous saga to figure things out for themselves, which isn’t exactly ideal when there is very little to figure out. . And while the film picks up towards the end thanks to a superhero style final showdown, the rest of the plot makes very little sense and will ultimately make you want to hit your head against a brick wall out of sheer frustration.
On the whole, Glass is a frustratingly mediocre offering from a director who was once regarded as one of the most promising filmmakers of his generation and who has unfortunately managed to disappoint over and over again with each new film. An absolute mess of movie whose only saving grace resides in its brilliant cast’s ability to get the most out of an otherwise poorly thought-out premise full of half baked and embarrassingly reductive ideas.
GLASS IS IN CINEMAS FROM FRIDAY 18TH OF JANUARY