The Sixth Sense Reviews
It's weird how you can tell this is an M. Night film, yet it's the only one of his movies that is universally liked.
So, The Sixth Sense is a psychological thriller created by the guy that ruined Jaden Smiths acting career, and it stars Bruce Willis, Haley Joel Osment (at the height of his powers) and Toni Collette. I know most people only think of the two main stars, who are great together on screen, but the chemistry between Collette and Osment is so natural and believable that you would believe they're actually mother and son. She's never quite absent, she's always their for her son from beginning to end, and to me that makes her character as important as Haley Joel Osment's. And it's vice versa, he's always their for his mom, he doesn't want her to worry about him so he does things like lie about having friends and being somewhat popular. That's really the theme to his character, he doesn't want people to think he's a freak, mainly because of his terrifying secret: he sees dead people.
Enter Bruce Willis' character, Dr. Malcom Crowe, a celebrated child psychologist who has some real problems of his own. After being shot by a former patient he failed and seemingly surviving, him and his wife seemingly have marital troubles some time after and he feels he can redeem himself and make his marriage better by helping Osment's character Cole. Right off the bat, these characters have a connection, because they're both on a mission to make things right with their lives. The most notable scene with them, of course, is the famous "I see dead people" scene. The build up in this scene is intense and the ominous score just ups the creep factor. And there are a few scenes like this where Cole is seeing ghosts or just saying how he wants them to go away, and it legitimately sends chills down your spine. That's what I really like about this movie, it has so much genuine emotion between characters and that makes the creepy ghosts scenes that much more effective because you feel for these characters.
Admittedly, there are probably two scenes where I'm like "Meh, who cares, what does this have to do with anything, get back to the good stuff"", but it definitely doesn't take away from the overall experience. Eventually you see Malcom discover that his last patient, the one that he failed, actually had the same problem Cole did, thus he became a believer. From there you find out that the ghosts actually want to use Cole as a medium to take care of unfinished business, which is a cool little twist, these ghosts aren't scary on purpose, they just want help. Malcom then redeems himself in the fact that he helped Cole overcome his fears and accept what he is, followed by a beautiful closing scene with him and his mom, but Malcom still has to fix things at home. When he gets back to his seemingly neglectful, anti-depressant filled wife, he unfortunately discovers the real reason she's been so distant, the big twist M. Night Shyamalan is famous for... Bruce Willis was dead the whole time. Yep, turns out that gunshot wound actually killed him quite instantly, and I swear to you, this twist STILL surprises me when I watch it. Not just because it's shocking, but it's actually a bold move for the movie, because it could have just as easily been a really bad ending, but thanks to once in a lifetime clever film making, the ending makes sense and it actually is another beautiful close for another fleshed out character.
And that's the brilliance that is The Sixth Sence. It's by no means perfect, and neither would the rest of M. Nights work be, but it's by far his best film and one of the best psychological thrillers in recent memory. M. Night would later make the stars of his films fools, emotionless, or emotionless fools, but here he seemes to have struck gold. Not just with the stars being realistic characters, but also the story being a layered mystery with plenty of suspense and emotion and some really creepy scenes to boot. 9/10
Haley was the standout performance (as usual). Shame he hasn't continued acting as an adult.