Sixth Sense, The

Reviewed By desdemona
Posted 11/13/99 01:09:30

"Intensely scary, and yes, a superbly wicked twist at the end."
5 stars (Awesome)

The Sixth Sense is what all horror movies SHOULD be: scary. This was a very well-wrought work of theatrical art. A carefully crafted story full of obscure clues and genuine fear-provoking elements, carried out so well as to make it entirely believable even in its "its-just-a-movie" unbelievability. Then again, maybe there ARE people that can see the dead......poor souls.

Okay, let me just get this out of the way. I was probably one of the last ten people left that hadn't seen this movie, but I'm glad I did. However, I am also one of about ten people that was able to guess the ending (although I won't ruin it for the other nine people that haven't seen this movie that just so happen to be reading my review). Yes, I really did accurately guess it, with the help of the countless number of people that told me how cool and twisted the end was and the countless number of raving reviews written about it. So, I was expecting some insane twist at the end, and even though I tried not to I still was analyzing the movie the whole time in an attempt to solve the mystery of the twist. And I figured it out. It was still really cool, don't get me wrong, but I'm just not as excited over it as I wish I would've been. Because of that, I'm unable to rave about how great the end was, so I'll just have to be content with raving about the rest of the movie. Okay, I just needed to get that out, now I'll continue on and do what I'm actually supposed to do (write a legitimate review, that is).

The Sixth Sense was a truly awesome, disturbing (yet oddly satisfying) movie. It is the story of a boy named Cole Sear (Haley Joel Osment) who is displaying what seem to be severe psychological problems. Child psychologist Malcolm Crowe (Bruce Willis) decides to try to help the boy, whose problems are almost insanely similar to those of a boy Malcolm failed to help, a boy who continued to haunt Malcolm months after the boy shot Malcolm then himself. Malcolm makes it his mission to help Cole, and it turns into almost an obsession; if he can save Cole, Malcolm feels it would also mean redemption for the one he couldn't.

Cole is a quiet boy, teased by the other children in school, not very social but trys to be, picked on because he says and does things that are very strange and sometimes unacceptable. He seems to be too preoccupied with death, and this Malcolm chalks up to Cole's parents' divorce. Yet the real reason for Cole's troubles are deeper than that: Cole has the "gift" of seeing the dead.

They are everywhere he goes, everywhere he looks, everywhere he turns. They haunt him and they won't leave him alone, and all he really wants is for them to go away. But he doesn't know how to do that, and he's terrified.

Of course no one believes him at first, but as the story progresses and stranger things happen, people begin to see the truth in Cole's claims. In the meantime, Malcolm becomes so obsessed with this child's case that he completely neglects his wife, who is suffering troubles of her own. Yet he continues to see Cole because they both become dependant on each other, and they need one another for help and salvation.

The end flawlessly ties the story and the characters together in a bizarre way that makes perfect sense. The end really was entirely unpredictable; the only reason I guessed was because of others' interference. Very twisted and completely unforseen, yet the clues WERE there. They were very carefully crafted and skillfully covered. However, looking back on it there were several clues offered that would typically go completely overlooked until mentally reviewing the movie afterwards. But again, I won't ruin it for the aforementioned nine people that have yet to see the movie.

There were holes in the representation of the story, but not in the plot itself. The way the story was written, there were no flaws in plot. Yet the story on the screen contained some questionable parts that didn't seem questionable at first until looking back later. Suddenly, everything that seemed a little off-beat is explained, and it all makes perfect sense. Anything that could have been a clue to the surprise ending is later discovered by the viewer to be a hole not in the story itself but in what we the audience were seeing on the screen. This is the mastery behind the writing and directing of this movie: let the clues be there, yet cover them almost completely and nearly perfectly to make it all seem normal. Only the most analytical and intuitive of minds could pick up on those clues without any prior knowledge of the ending, but the rest of the movie would be lost. VERY well done.

Movies are generally just the combination of parts--writing, directing, acting--and if any of those parts are flawed, the entire movie suffers. The Sixth Sense is one of those lucky movies that shows perfection in all three parts. While it is not the best movie ever made, it was still extremely well done on all fronts. As explained above, the directing and writing were near perfection. As for the acting, that little boy Haley is one disturbingly realistic actor. Along with veteran Bruce Willis and appropriately emotional mother of Cole, Lynn Sear (Toni Collette), the cast made the movie come to life. The audience feels Cole's terror and desperation; Malcolm's intense long to help and his compassion; Lynn's parental fear, concern, and anger; and the rest of the tidal wave of emotions the characters go through during the movie. But the most important element was Haley Joel Osment, who took the sadly mature and cryptic character of Cole and made him real.

This was an extremely well-done, enjoyable movie. Part horror, part suspense, and part drama, it is the kind of movie that can't be passed off on some silly genre and forgotten in two months. It's not the usual meaningless fluff we typically get out of Hollywood. But if you don't want to see it just because it was so incredibly well done, then just see it for the ending.

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