|THE SIXTH SENSE (1999)|
M. Night Shyamalan
|"Do you know why you're afraid when you're alone? I do. I do."|
|Time: 106 mins.|
Official Web Site
Academy Award nominations for Best Supporting Actor (Osment), Best Supporting Actress (Collette), Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best Film Editing and Best Picture.
I wasn't going to see this movie. I've been gravely disappointed in Bruce Willis lately and the idea of sitting through a hokey ghost story with him as the lead was not very appealing. The great news is, not only is this a scary, intelligent, well-made movie, Willis gives an amazing performance something I was worried he was incapable of doing anymore. Gone is the smirking, look-how-clever-I-am, acting style we've been forced to swallow in recent years. Willis actually shows his softer side as a child psychologist looking for a chance to save a young boy and redeem himself. This is a welcome change for him and I'm glad to see him choosing a role that is well-written instead of something that will just make him money. Of course, this movie would be nothing without the truly amazing performance put in by his young co-star Haley Joel Osment. If this kid can survive the pitfalls of most young actors, he'll be one to watch over the years. The honesty of his acting will break your heart. He just exudes despair from every fiber of his being as this little boy, Cole, with a terrible secret he can neither share nor get rid of.
Since most people have seen the trailer, the audience already knows his pain he sees dead people. Not only is he constantly aware of their presence, they are aware of his and they're not always pleasant to be around. Of course, he doesn't tell anyone about his visions, so everyone in his live just thinks that he's strange. His mother, played by Toni Collette, tries to help him, but she's the only person who doesn't look at him like he's a freak, so to keep her love he stays silent. Things seem to get better when Cole starts seeing Malcolm Crowe, one of the city's leading child psychologists. Malcolm seems to understand Cole and to actually like him. For Malcolm, Cole represents a chance to undo a wrong. He is determined to help Cole's demons disappear, but soon finds that Cole suffers from something he cannot control. Maybe this isn't the road to redemption after all. However, the look in Cole's eyes doesn't allow him quit. After an intiguing discovery, Malcolm uncovers a way to help Cole deal with his visions. In reverse, Cole enables Malcolm to deal with his own demons and find his path to the future. I don't want to give too much away. The secrets are what make this film work.
THE SIXTH SENSE may sound more like a psychological drama than a thriller, but make no mistakes, this film has some truly chilling, frightening and downright horrifying moments. It made me jump in my seat on more than one occasion. There are also some very grotesque moments as well. The ghosts are seen in the physical form they were in when they died and most times that is a very ugly picture. There are not as many scenes with the ghosts as you might expect; however, when they do appear onscreen they are used with the utmost effectiveness. The fact that you know Cole believes he sees dead people takes a bit off the surprise of his revelation, but it's interesting to see how the story unfolds. You're not sure if it's all in his mind or not. Though make no mistake about it, if I were seeing stuff like that, I would be more than a bit jumpy myself.
Because the film was written and directed by Shyamalan, the vision is strong and complete. This film was well-planned and executed and the precision shows. The attention to detail is fantastic, especially when the final secrets are revealed. It's a movie that will have you thinking for days afterwards trying to poke holes in its' theories and revelations. You won't find very many. When everything finally becomes clear, you'll be amazed at the ingeniousness of it all. The SIXTH SENSE takes you on a powerful and emotional ride you won't soon forget. It will also make you wish that more movies were made with this degree of quality. This is definitely one of the best films I've seen in a long time. It's one you won't want to miss...and one you'll want to see before someone spills its' secrets.