<Review by: Sailesh Ghelani>


Directed by M. Night Shyamalan. Starring Bruce Willis, James McAvoy, Samuel L. Jackson, Sarah Paulson, Anya Taylor-Joy, Spencer Treat Clark, Charlayne Woodard

Running time: 2 hours 9 minutes


Fans of M. Night Shyamalan, whose marvellous mysteries like Unbreakable and Sixth Sense wowed us when we were kids, have been waiting eagerly for another tale with a twist. And while we’re a bit more immune to ‘surprises’ nowadays, Glass still manages to intrigue and engage you as a more thoughtful superhero film.

I vaguely remember Unbreakable (2000), which says a lot about the film and its impact. I didn’t need to rewatch it for Glass. The more recent Split (2017) is somewhat fresh though I just about remember what happened in it. Of course you can’t forget a performance like James McAvoy’s who plays Kevin Wendell Crumb, the guy with two dozen personalities that manifest themselves ‘in the light’, some harmless, others deadly.


Bruce Willis’s David Dunn – the man of steel who can sense what a person is like by touching them – has spent the last 19 years as the ‘Overseer’, a green trench coat-wearing vigilante protecting the streets of Philadelphia from petty criminals assisted by his son Joseph (Spenser Treat Clark, who played the son in Unbreakable 19 years ago!).

Dunn faces off against The Beast – one of the 24 personas – and both are captured and put in a mental asylum for treatment by Dr Ellie Staple (Sarah Paulson) who believes they’re all suffering from delusions of grandeur and they’re ‘super powers and weaknesses’ are rooted in childhood traumas. The two soon realise that the brittle-boned but brilliant Elijah Price/Mr. Glass (Samuel L. Jackson) is a resident at the institution and so begins the battle of minds and bodies.


Side characters play an important role in humanising our superheroes. Dunn’s son Joseph is protective of his ‘strong’ dad; Casey Cooke (Anya Taylor-Joy) is concerned about Kevin and Elijah’s mother (Charlayne Woodard) tells him to stand tall and not let anyone get him down.

Most of the story is set here in the mental institute where we see our three actors subtly portray their characters with a finesse and dominance we rarely see in the other ‘superhero’ films that attack our theatres every few months now. These are super heroes with complicated souls; they’re real, flawed and grey. Glass is more like X-Men than Avengers, thankfully.


James McAvoy deserves an award for his portrayal of the multiple personalities that take you from fear to laughter in a split second.

The film has gotten a high Audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes with a low Critics rating. In this case, the audience knows best, as Glass is a thinking, feeling mystery movie that has some twists and plenty of great dialogue and direction. It may not be as high budget as Marvel movies, but it shows how a film’s premise from almost 20 years ago still works and creates wonder even today.


Like it? share with friends