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 March 7, 2003
Although I consider The Sixth Sense™ to be a fair-to-middling cinematic presentation, I found myself somewhat let down. For me, the letdown wasn't due to the ending that most people claimed was no surprise (my thoughts on that later). What I found disappointing was that this film was touted as a horror movie, but ended up being more of a quasi-sappy, feel-good tear-jerker with a little bit of "justice from beyond the grave" thrown in for variety. There was not a thing in this flick that I found particularly horrifying, shocking or disturbing. A kid who sees dead people ain't exactly keepin' me up at (m.) night, you know? Bottom line: don't believe the hype!
As for the whole deal regarding Bruce Willis' character and his, shall we say, 'state': personally, I was kinda surprised by the climax, but I did have a sneaking suspicion in the back of my mind that there was somethin' not quite right about the guy. As for those of you who claimed to have known how the movie was gonna end all along: I believe there's more than a few of you who were genuinely surprised, but you're scared to admit it 'cuz ya don't wanna look uncool to all your so-called 'avant-garde' movie-going buddies. Well, to heck with them I say! Be a man-- own up to the fact you had no idea about how it was gonna end, and get on with your life! And if your cohorts really do think you're a flea-brained fool, then they weren't really your friends to begin with! Make The Sixth Sense™ your litmus test to separate your true friends from the pretenders...
on March 17, 2002
So, without being a spoiler, let me just say that this movie has some serious plot holes -- ones big enough to drive a truck through. Its big gimmic -- the plot twist at the end -- doesn't work out as well as the director would have us believe (review his comments on the DVD). Without giving anything away, let me phrase it like this: many of the scenes involving Bruce Willis cut directly to his already having entered the room in which the seen takes place. If the plot twist is to be believed, Willis either magically appeared in these places and didn't realize that he hadn't arrived by normal means, or there's something really wrong with the plot. IOW, not only is the audience unaware of his situation, neither is he himself, which makes no sense given the mechanics of getting a person into and out of a room.
I don't want to spoil it, so I won't get any more specific. Watch the DVD and see if you don't agree. You may have to watch it twice to see what I mean. The most glaring problems are when Willis is sitting in the living room with the boy's mother, when he joins his wife for dinner, and when he attends the funernal and the play near the end of the movie.
on August 5, 2001
I am not a fan of either Bruce Willis or most modern American movies. I only rented M. Night Shyamalan's "The Sixth Sense" because I read that the movie was supposed to have a great surprise-ending. "The Sixth Sense" is an average thriller.
Child psychologist Bruce Willis is shot and wounded by an angry former patient who later kills himself. About a year later, Willis finds that his marriage is crumbling and comes across a young boy(Haley Joel Osment) who seriously needs his help. Osment has a special talent that allows him to look into the past. He is also haunted by spirits and says that Willis is the only person who can help him.
"The Sixth Sense" is a so-so thriller. I wasn't satisfied with the first two-thirds of the film but the last third is great. The last third of the film is genuinely heartfelt and stunning. As a child actor, Osment gives a good performance but I didn't think his portrayal was Oscar-worthy; his character's emotions seem too affected at times. I also wish the film would have gone into much greater detail about the dead girl-ghost character who asks Osment for his help. If anything, "The Sixth Sense" certainly has a GREAT twist-ending. The surprise ending is both logical and intelligent, and I didn't come close to guessing this conclusion beforehand. The surprise conclusion significantly helps in elevating the film.
Despite its weaknesses, "The Sixth Sense" should be seen by every movie buff at least once. For a superior thriller with an even greater twist-ending, see Robin Hardy's "The Wicker Man."
on August 4, 2001
Actually, watching the DVD of <Unbreakable> prompted this review. Both feature Bruce Willis in the starring role and are "eerily" similar in their cinematic tricks. We get lots of vague, essentially nebulous lighting (I really do need to get glasses, I guess!)and thinly-construed plot. Shyamalan is regarded in Hollywood circles as the next Steven Speilberg, but what he serves up is rather thin gruel in the larger scheme of things, even though after wincing through A.I. I see the validity of the comparisons (Sorry, Steve, I really did love <Schindler's, one of the great films of the century>).
What this film fails to deliver is the type of dramatic tension that is evident in such masterpieces as <The Innocents> (an immensely well-crafted child-oriented ghost tale adapted from Henry James' <The Turn of the Screw>, screenplay by Truman Capote, and <Jacob's Ladder>, neglected pretty much by the Oscar committee and the mainstream press, but infinitely savvier and scarier than this imitation. In fact, <Jacob's Ladder> has almost the exact same ending as <The Sixth Sense>, but I've never seen or heard of M. Night Shyamalan giving credit to this earlier, superior, screenplay. Perhaps it's about time.
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 April 5, 2001
I wouldn't say that this is the worst movie I've seen, but it sure ain't the best. I honestly didn't find it scary in the least. "I see dead people." Whooo Boy! I got shivers now! Yeah right, nice try, kid. Trying to make a simple sweat impression from a palm or something look scary, dead people coming back to life, who look like just ordinary people--except with their heads all bloodied up, etc. "Know the prickly feeling on the back of your neck? That's them." Even Psycho is scarier than this film, and MUCH better done. Now, about the ending, which is really all this movie had going for it: It is nothing impressive. If you already guessed it, you won't be impressed. Even if you didn't guess it--I didn't, because I lost interest in the movie anyway--it still isn't impressive. WANT TO SEE A REAL GOOD ENDING? WATCH THE END OF CITIZEN KANE. THAT is a good ending. Dialogue, camera angle, EVERYTHING. Okay, but enough of the bad. Here's the good. The casting is pretty good. I though Bruce Willis did an okay job. I say 'okay' because I haven't seen him in much else. The little kid did okay too, but I'm not going to say he's great until he PROVES his acting skill. I say we put the kid in a silent film, THEN we'll see how good an actor he REALLY is. The storyline is okay, but this film would have done better as a short film. It gives you too much time to think the ending over, before it happens. Overall an okay film, but certainly not the best or the worst.
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 March 23, 2001
Prior to viewing this movie I had read many articles and reviews praising it's subtle spookiness, quality of acting and general atmosphere (not to mention the hoopla made about the so called twist ending).Perhaps it was all of this hype that was responsible for my dissapontment with "The Sixth Sense". I don't mean to slight the performances in the film - Haley Joel Osment is exceptional as the boy troubled by visions of the dead and Bruce Willis is suitably poignant in his role as the troubled psychologist. Also, I must commend director Shyamalan for his restraint in regards to "horror effects". In this age of slash and bleed crap like "Scream" (1, 2 and 3 ad nauseum)any horror movie which goes a thoughtful, psychological route is to be applauded.
So, "The Sixth Sense" is well acted and reasonably intelligent. Why then did it leave me cold? Maybe, as I say, It was simply the mountains of hype. More likely it is simply that despite all efforts to tell a good story, "The Sixth Sense" suffers from too much style and not enough substance - feeling in the end like a Hollywood product and not a work of art. . .
. . . And speaking of the end. . . The "surprise" ending of "The Sixth Sense" is something we have seen before (and better)in at least three films I can pull off the top of my head - "Carnival of Souls" (1962), "Siesta" (1987) and "Jacob's Ladder" (1990). But who's counting?
"The Sixth Sense" is a passable evenings entertainment, not a great film and certainly not a great ghost story. This is only my opinion, of course. Who am I to disgree with the hundreds here who have heaped so much adulation upon this movie?
P.S. "A Stir of Echoes", starring Kevin Bacon and based on a novel by Richard Matheson, came and went in the overblown shadow of "The Sixth Sense" back in 1999. Pick it up if you would like to see a ghost story done right.
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.