on January 9, 2004
This movie depends on two things. How much you figure out before it ends and how much you have invested yourself in this movie. The two go hand in hand. The truth is that many people figured out the ending within the first few minutes on the bases that they simply "heard" it had a great twist. It is actually not that hard to figure out even if you just hear the plot alone and couple that with the fact it has a twist. If you view this film without having heard anything beforehand you are in a much better position to enjoy it, but there is a margin out there who will get it and will only enjoy it because other people did not get it and there is some fun to be had in knowing that other people where played with. Do not believe for a moment that people who say they got it are lying about that. I know plenty of people who got it and the film thus did not have the desired impact that it retains throughout the whole slow affair for that final manipulation of the audience.
The truth be told that the whole weight of this somewhat low-budget film is based on the twist. The actual production values are somewhat minimal. You can see that the producers of this flick had trimmed as much as they could on the budget knowing that the impact of the final reel would more than makeup for putting this flick out on the cost that it was made on. There was no risk involved in doing that but obviously it was a financial strategy that worked out for everybody involved. You can see that everyone was happy with the gamble and it paid off. Could you imagine if this film had a bunk ending or a twist that was not very good? The whole film then looks like Bruce Willis just hooked up with a film student for the hell of it.
The actual acting on display here is not cutting edge but Haley Joel Osment does walk circles around everyone including Willis. Osment is a very important casting decision here. Without him it would loose some impact. The film's pace is dreadfully slow and it does stall at times. However if you are looking for a payoff then you will get a whooper of a payoff here, unless you fall into the marginal category who have got it and then must sit out the rest of this slow journey until your suspicions are finally unmasked.
This is a great twist of a movie, but not such a great movie. Again the premise, plot and structure is based on that ending, a small gamble because of the strength of the twist, but still it leaves the vast majority of this movie somewhere around mediocre with limitations that do show themselves now and again. Sometimes the acting is actually not very good and is a little on the experimental "new" side which does not suite having an A-list actor at the helm.
So the verdict here is five stars if you are oblivious to everything until the end but only three stars if you get it and must watch through the whole slow affair.
on July 12, 2001
Osment performed very well. I liked the sets, and the lighting created the appropriate mood. This could have been an outstanding movie, but alas, too many plot-holes, and too many unanswered questions. Not the good kind of unanswered--the kind of unanswered that shows that the creators of the movie couldn't think in a straight line.
Why did Cole know Latin? Why did he know his teacher used to stutter? Why did Malcolm never wonder why he doesn't eat, shower, or sleep? Why would Cole's mother's grandmother leave the bumblebee pendant in Cole's bureau drawer? Where's the sense in that? Why did the dead people, hung by their necks, NOT KNOW THEY WERE DEAD?! And all three of them? What a co-ink-ee-dink!
And Malcom's wife could NOT talk to him in her sleep. You cannot speak or hear when you're in the deepest stage of sleep, and if she had been in a stage light enough to hear Malcolm and speak to him, she would have startled awake from the freezing cold, his voice, or from hearing herself speak aloud.
"Clues" could have been handled more delicately. It's just silly to have "insight" presented to us through Malcolm's flamboyant circling of script in his textbooks.
I really liked how the two noxious kids who locked Cole in the closet didn't even get questioned or scolded for either a) locking him in there or b) standing there stupidly while he screamed and spazzed out.
Also, this flick just wasn't that scary. I jumped once, and that's because I had the volume too darned loud. I'd expected a real spine-tingler.
Too much sentimental stuff. Resonance is good in a movie--Cole going on about great-grandma seeing his mother's recital is not.
This movie had some strong points, but the weak points kept nagging at me throughout the entire film. I had expected near-perfection considering the hype this movie got AND the Oscar nominations, to boot. :(
However, it is kind of spooky to imagine that the reason we feel fear when we're alone is that there really ARE ghosts lurking in our midst. But then again, isn't hocus-pocus superstition what usually prompts fear in the first place? So I guess that speculation isn't too ingenious......
On an up note, I CAN skip over the previews with my Playstation 2. Wheee!!!!!
on March 31, 2001
I think I've seen too many movies, but I was disappointed by this one. Images of "The Exorcist", "The Shining", "Angel Heart", and others raced through my mind.
I was thrilled with the film's lack of violence, and I liked the antique (though glossy) look of the film. And of course there were some good performances, most notably young Osment and Toni Colette (their moments together are the best in the film). Bruce Willis was okay, but after the "surprise" ending, I guess I found his performance adequate.
I guess I am somewhat let down by the hype of the film. If I were a younger, less knowledgable and less educated filmgoer, I probably would have liked it more. But I can't seem to forget good films I've already seen. Or, just call me a snob (I guess I kind of am when it comes to art).
To make things worse, the video features an interview with writer/director M. Night Shyamalan. This guy has a tremendously inflated view of this film (and himself)! You'd think he had created the next "Godfather". And, in accordance with the modern times, he went on and on about how much money the film made; as if that makes it a great film. Let's remember that the single "Physical" by Olivia Newton John was a #1 hit for 10 weeks in 1981. Topping the charts and getting people to talk about something do not a great piece of art make. Spare us the talk about making a cultural impact with this film because of the box office draw and people quoting the line "I see dead people". It worries me about the future of filmmaking. I wonder what other "great" films are going to be created by "ball-playing, Big Mac-eating" kids that spent their youth hanging out in malls.
on January 12, 2001
I like dark films, I like films with kids as protagonists, and hey, I even like Bruce Willis most of the time. But all this hooplah over Sixth Sense has got my boxers in a knot. Sixth Sense is an orginal film with strong technical merits and a solid plot line. But it does not come close to living up to all the kudos and attention the public has lavished upon it. First of all, the big "secret". I don't know about everyone else but I figured out Willis was dead inside of twenty minutes. I mean talk about a surprise that was hardly well-concealed. Secondly Haley whats-his-face. That kid needs to tone it down a few notches. His milky voiced, wet-eyed look just doesn't sell me. Thirdly, okay The kid again, I Do Not Like This Kid. I suppose I have to make this point twice. It seems that the movie-going audience is easily enthralled with a cutesy-wootsey sadfaced child regardless of the weaknesses of his acting abilities. I have two words for you McCaulley Culkin. Look, don't get me wrong, the Sixth Sense is worth seeing, but it is hardly worth the praise it received. Personally I'll take Unbreakable over the Sixth Sense any day of the week and twice on Sunday.
on January 1, 2001
Yes, yes... most of us are familiar with the more famous line of this film, "I see dead people", but listen closely and you may hear what this little boy is really saying. He is describing the audience who loves this nothing film. You wait and wait and wait, and nothing happens. There are a few strange surprises towards the end, but it is not worth the wait. Instead we have a film that meanders along, with nothing much happening while we are watching.
Bruce Willis, as a child psychologist, does do a great job. However, since Bruce Willis is in alot of other films, you do not have to suffer through this one to watch him. If you insist, however, you can see him interact with a little boy who can see, and hear, dead people. Branded a freak by his classmates, alone with his talent, he mets Bruce. Bruce really doesn't believe that this little boy can see dead people, instead he thinks the child is crying out for help.
Who really needs help, and how they get it, is one of the nice twists of the movie. A few good plot turns, however, doesn't make up for the slow, very slow, pacing. If you like freaky movies, watch some of the old Twilight Zones episodes. They are more interesting, and only take 30 minutes instead of 2 1/2 hours to make the point. Okay, okay, maybe this film isn't "dumb." But the overreaction by so many to it certainly is. "The Sixth Sense" is an okay, average film worth watching on broadcast television, but not worth the money needed to buy a DVD. Wait six months, it will be a "movie for a weekend" on a local channel.
on December 18, 2000
No point in belaboring the plot of *The Sixth Sense*; just want to weigh in a year and a half later.
The movie has a truly surprise ending, making you want to sit through it a second time. The question is, of course, is the movie worth a second viewing? It's arguable. I watched it a second time not because of the ending but rather because of M. Night Shyamalan's surprisingly sure-handed direction (it's only his second movie!). The scene composition, art direction, lighting, and measured pace (very pleasing, that) are almost wonders to behold in this day and age of racking noise, "kinetic" camerawork, and other excesses. With a movie about ghosts, we've come to expect over-the-top shenanigans and scares that mainly come from sudden bleats of violins and synthesizers at 50-decibel volume in your typical Dolby-sound theater. Shyamalan dares to take the genre pretty seriously, and he generates several legitimate scares. The scares work because he's earned it. The director has paid due attention to story and character development, and once the ghosts begin their visitations, we find ourselves concerned about the characters and really wishing that they don't come to harm. (Typical slasher movies don't scare because we don't care -- about the characters, the story, the villain.)
Along that vein, Shyamalan wrings excellent performances from his cast. Joel Haley Osment has to be one of the discoveries of the decade, Toni Collette is, as always, great, and Bruce Willis has been restrained to the point where he actually stays in character.
Not quite on the level of "great", *The Sixth Sense* is nevertheless very promising work from a director I'm sure we'll be seeing a lot more of.
on June 3, 2000
Not being a Willis fan I avoided seeing this movie until it reached the 250 million level, and mostly because it was nominated for Best Picture. I kept seeing references to a "Sixth Sense style of plot twist" in reviews of other movies so I'm sure I would have enjoyed the ending a lot more if I'd seen it earlier because after the first scene it's pretty obvious what the "twist" is. I spent the rest of the movie noticing the technique of the screenwriter and the director - a little distracting to be sure.
I was not impressed with this movie - it certainly doesn't deserve a best picture nom, but Oscar marketing being what it is nowadays - but it does have it's moments. My favorite scene is near the end where the kid tells his mom about the dance (?) recital. Pretty manipulative, but very effective thanks to Toni Colette.
The DVD package of extras is excellent. I rented the DVD just for the extras and didn't bother watching the movie again.
Let me ask a question: when Willis goes to see the kid at his house, and is sitting in the living room with the mom, doesn't he think it's strange that she doesn't know that he's even there. Did she answer the door when he knocked? I mean, he's dead, right? So she wouldn't see... anyway. Maybe this is the kind of thing I'm supposed to suspend disbelief for but...
on May 26, 2000
This was one of the several movies that got many nominations that I'd seen before Oscar night. It was also one of the worst that was nominated for many. Surely Osment deserves accolades for his performance, but it was, overall, a repetitive, dry film. (Osment, by himself, was the only reason this got 3 stars as opposed to 2). We clearly get the point by the middle of the two hours that he sees dead people and something is wrong with him, but, in a time management move comparative to that of The Cider House Rules, Osment continues to see dead people for about an hour too long; it would have made a very nice short picture. But no, no, no! We're going to have a nice long movie that we can shove enough dead people in to call a thriller and make thousands of bottoms across America fall asleep while watching! Not only the fact that it progresses into borderline boredom, but that I never thought the ending to be that great! Oooh so he was dead the whole time, what's the point? It's a nice little twist but nothing as good as how reviewers here have glorified it. It was a moderate film with a moderate ending. Many characters, as well, with the omission of Willis' character, develop much throughout the story. Holes in the accuracy make up for another part as why so-called horror flicks shouldn't be up for awards. Lucky to get 3 stars.
on May 19, 2000
Can someone tell me why this DVD has so many previews at the start? I have two other DVDs, and they don't have any. Every time you pop in the disc, you have to sit through stupid previews of Mission to Mars, Summer of Sam, 13th Warrior, some vampire flick and other ads. It's VERY annoying, unless there is some way of bypassing them that I'm missing.
As for the movie (when I finally got there), I didn't see it beforehand, and it was an original and thought-provoking film. Haley Joel Osment was excellent, as were the actresses in the film, including Toni Collette and Olivia Williams, who turned in another fine performance after Rushmore. However, you really have to suspend disbelief watching this movie, and during parts of it I found myself thinking, "That's ridiculous." Also, the "ghosts" were nothing special and seemed pretty shallow, and I think Bruce is better in action movies. He seems worn-out here. But it's fun and would make a good DVD rental.
The DVD has excellent picture quality, and I had to turn the lights off because it's quite dark. It has deep tones and good colour. The DVD has quite a bit of extra material including deleted scenes and an interesting "Rules and Clues" part, but it could use less of M. Night Shyamalan, who keeps talking about box office numbers and his birthday.
on April 22, 2000
I think it is worth watching once if you haven't already seen it. I like some of the dead people because they were pretty scary looking. The movie itself is kind of funny. It seems to have the same tone throughtout the movie. The, I am really scared and there is urgency. This tone is in the characters not the audience imo. Half way through the movie the whole repetitive tone was starting to wear thin. I am sure some will know what I mean, some will deny it, some would have liked it. My brother loved this movie and the person I saw it with like it a lot so to each his/her own. I just thought it was a little trying at times because of the same tone thoughou the whole movie. I like horror movied very much but this was more of a thriller. It did not have the feeling of a horror movie, it was more like the whole movie was an I'm ok your Ok so we gotta stick together and help each other out between the young boy and Bruce Willis. I think if someone watched this movie more than once they would be very sick of the boy and his whining througout the movie. I can't believe how successful this movie was either, like some of the other reviewers.