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The Sixth Sense

(1999) rated: PG-13

Director: M. Night Shyamalan

Starring: Bruce Willis, Haley Joel Osment, Toni Collette, Olivia Williams, and a shrivelled Donnie Wahlberg.

Synopsis: Malcolm Crowe (Bruce Willis) is an award winning psychiatrist who is shot one night by a man who had previously been his patient and feels he had been treated incorrectly. The man then turns the gun on himself. The next fall, we see that Crowe has taken on another case, a young boy named Cole Sear (Haley Joel Osment), who seems to be suffering from the same disorder as the patient who shot him. In young Cole, Crowe sees a chance to redeem himself. The difficult task of reaching the troubled youth is compounded with Crowe's own problems, namely that his once close wife seems to be slipping into an affair.

Review: "The Sixth Sense" is one of those rare movies that has a lot of latent potential and, though much of that potential is not explored, it is still a good movie. The concept of a child who can speak to the dead is ripe with ideas, most of which are not explored in the film. Crowe's subplot seems a bit cliche and so does Cole's, but as you shall see, it really doesn't matter.

The acting is excellent, especially young Haley Joel Osment. Willis plays his part well and he seems to be able to interact well with Osment, whose performance as the troubled young boy was astonishing. Osment's character has an interesting depth and a large amount of dialogue (rare for young actors). Toni Collette does her best as Lynn Sear, Cole's mother and Olivia Williams (playing Crowe's wife) and Donnie Wahlberg (the patient who shoots Crowe) have nice small parts as well.

One of the most interesting parts of the movie is when Dr. Crowe asks Cole the question, "What do you think the dead people are trying to tell you?" A question that is always asked by viewers of a horror film, but seldom by the film itself. However, the film still does a good job showing that Cole is still scared of the ghosts, whether they are friendly or not.

The film was written and directed by N. Night Shyamalan, who has done an admirable job. The whole movie has a certain visual flare, though there were a few unnecessary "Boo!" shots (supplimented by the jumpy score). I must admit that I was kicking myself when the movie ended because the solution to many of the film's questions is in plain view for the whole movie, I just never noticed. This surprise ending is what makes this movie an enjoyable experience and, as is usually the case with movies that have a surprise ending, I want to watch it again to see all the stuff I missed the first time around.

Did you know:
• There are technically more than 5 senses (in modern psychology). There are the five you already know, which are vision, hearing, smell, taste, and touch; then there is your sense of pain, your vestibular sense (your sense of balance), and there is the Kinesthetic sense, which is the sense of the relative position of your body parts.
• About a year ago, while shooting The Sixth Sense in Philadelphia, Bruce Willis participated in a Blues Traveler concert in the Jake Nevin Fieldhouse of Villanova University (my school!).
• The color red is used throughout to foreshadow or signify ghostly happenings.

• The Fifth Element and now the Sixth Sense? What's next Bruce, The Fourth Dimension?
• The film puts forth a definite viewpoint of the afterlife. Do you agree with this outlook?
• Do you believe in Ghosts? If so, do you believe them to be friendly or malicious? Why?

The Sixth Sense: Official Site
Sixth Sense, The (1999) (IMDB page)

The Shining
The Changeling
Ghost Story
The Legend of Hell House

The Store:
The Sixth Sense (DVD)
The Sixth Sense (VHS)
The Sixth Sense (CD): Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

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