This third feature by M. Night Shyamalan sets itself up as a thriller, poised on the brink of delivering monstrous scares, but gradually evolves into more of a psychological drama with supernatural undertones. Many critics faulted the film for being mawkish and New Age-y, but no matter how you slice it, this is one mightily effective piece of filmmaking. The bare bones of the story are basic enough, but the moody atmosphere created by Shyamalan and cinematographer Tak Fujimoto made this one of the creepiest pictures of 1999, forsaking excessive gore for a sinisterly simple feeling of chilly otherworldliness. Willis is in his strong, silent type mode here, and gives the film wholly over to Osment, whose crumpled face and big eyes convey a child too wise for his years; his scenes with his mother (Toni Collette) are small, heartbreaking marvels. And even if you figure out the film's surprise ending, it packs an amazingly emotional wallop when it comes, and will have you racing to watch the movie again with a new perspective. You may be able to shake off the sentimentality of The Sixth Sense, but its craftsmanship and atmosphere will stay with you for days. --Mark Englehart
Staring Bruce Willis as child psychologist Malcolm Crowe and Haley Osment and the disturb child Cole Sear, The Sixth Sense is both a psychological thriller and a horror movie at the same time. Terrifying visions of dead people haunts the child, Cole. He has learned to repress what he sees for fear of being called insane. So at first, we see it as a psychological thriller. Later, we learn that the visions are real, so perhaps we are watching a horror flick, but as the move progresses it never degenerates into a silly horror movie, but keeps its psychological edge.
Although Bruce Willis is one of my favorite actors, I am afraid that I have underestimated his acting ability. This is an outstanding movie that grabs your attention and does not let go until the final credits roll. And the ending, oh yes, it was a surprise- I did not see it coming. If you have not seen this movie, rent it now. You will want to watch it several times. It is that good. Not a movie for the faint of heart or your wee ones- it will give them nightmares for a week; but if you are looking for a first rate psychological thriller you may want to add this to your DVD collection.
First of all, it hits close to home. Why? First off, Shyamalan graduated from Waldron Mercy Academy, my private Catholic school, back when it was Waldron Academy and all-boys. Today, the nationally renowned school is coed. Second, THE SIXTH SENSE is filmed in the bustling city of Philadelphia, PA, very close to where I lived. I recognized most, if not all of the places shown in Shyamalan's thriller.
That said, it didn't necessarily mean I was going to automatically enjoy the film. At the age of 11, I was hasty to see it. But my Daddy, as usual, bribed me into it, assuring me I wouldn't regret seeing the movie.
"Whatever," I muttered as he dragged me to the neighborhood cinema.
I had set my standards low. I arrived in the theatre, expecting a Pepsi, a Hershey bar, and a nap.
I was pleasantly surprised. In fact, I was elated!
The talented Bruce Willis takes on the role of psychologist Dr. Malcolm Crowe, very distinguished in his profession. Haley Joel Osment, newcomer to the big screen, plays Cole Sear, a disturbed 8 year-old. His mother, up in arms about what to do with her withdrawn and unhappy son, calls Dr. Crowe to help sort out the situation. Mrs. Sear, a single parent, is wonderfully played by Toni Colette, who brings life and significance to her character, giving off a near immaculate 3-dimensional performance.
Cole is blessed. Or is he cursed? You decide. He has been bestowed/cursed with the power of the sixth sense, a skill both ugly and horrible, in a sense. Cole, with this magical skill, can help others. Yet at the same time, his sixth sense haunts him to the point of insanity. "I see dead people," he eventually explains to Dr. Crowe.Read more ›