- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 17, 2019

The latest thriller from filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan that helped resolve his superpowered universe left critics yawning and now looks to tempt viewers obsessed by the ultra-high definition format in Glass (Universal Pictures Home Entertainment, rated PG-13, 129 minutes, 2.39:1 aspect ratio, $44.98).

Delivering the adventures of angst-ridden vigilante David Dunn (Bruce Willis) and hyper-intellectual villain Elijah Price aka Mr. Glass (Samuel L. Jackson), the film gives fans a conclusion they have yearned for since the release of “Unbreakable” nearly 20 years ago.

The story finds Dunn, now nicknamed the Overseer, hunting the split personality monster Kevin Crumb aka the Horde (James McAvoy) who kidnaps and kills teenage girls.

Their confrontation, arrest and eventual institutionalization of the pair lead to the duo interacting with a near comatose Mr. Glass in a mental hospital as psychiatrist Dr. Ellie Staple (Sarah Paulson) tries to prove to the boys that their superpowers are a delusion.

Mr. Shyamalan shuns the excess of recent superhero blockbusters to deliver a dialogue rather than intense action-driven movie simmering with a couple of clever twists and lots of character examination.



Performances shine throughout led by Mr. McAvoy bringing the same level of chaotic energy to the role he created in “Split” (the second part of the trilogy) as he switches between 23 personalities with literally the flash of a light and exposing his muscle-bound Beast when needed.

Suffice it to report, fans will truly be thrilled by the subdued exploits and seeing older characters onscreen with even David’s young son Joseph from “Unbreakable” coming back (played by a grown up Spencer Treat Clark).

However, average movie viewers may be scratching their heads during the extended simmering.

Specifically, if the Russo brothers can directorial bring to life such eye-popping spectacles such as “Captain America: Civil War” and “Avengers: Infinity War” while managing to inject plenty of character pathos and emotional crescendos, it should have been easy for the talented Mr. Shyamalan to offer a much more dynamic thriller.

4K in action: The 4K transfer, from a reportedly 4K master format, certainly offers a crisp presentation of the film, but since much of the action gets confined to a white-and-grey sterile hospital and devoid of overwhelming computer-generated effects, it’s hard to really appreciate.

The best moments are when the lead characters are set against the monochromatic rooms and hallways  (reference a bubblegum-pink massive room) where the focus is on facial detail and costuming (such as the pockets of purples around Mr. Glass).

However, the Dolby Atmos soundtrack surrounds viewers with West Dylan Thordson’s sparse but excellent score that adds incredible tension to scenes through the aggressive use of string instruments and percussion (actually recorded in the abandoned institution where the movie takes place).

Best extras: A collection of 12 deleted scenes and an alternate opening leads the bonus content all contained on the 4K disc.

A much-welcomed, optional introduction to each by the director helps explore his motivation for cutting or altering scenes that often showcase the work Mr. McAvoy.

While viewers watch the entire 28 minutes of content, Mr. Shyamalan also reminds them that the first cut of film was 3 hours and 20 minutes, so plenty of difficult decisions had to be made on the final theatrical release devoid of these scenes.

Next a dozen short featurettes (averaging 4 minutes) explores the production of the film while covering a wide range of topics such as the use of an abandoned mental hospital in Allentown, Pennsylvania, as the film’s primary location; stunt work in a pair of fight scenes; the sparse use of computer effects; the reintroduction of the main characters and the actors; and how all of the films tie together.

The director offers insight throughout all of the segments, and best of the bunch is a casual 5-minute sit-down discussion between Mr. McAvoy and Mr. Shyamalan.

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