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The Sixth Sense

Meet Dr. Malcolm Crowe, a brilliant and award-winning child psychologist, who falls from grace after a mis-diagnosis turns ugly. He finds the hope of salvation in aiding young Cole Sear, a 9 year-old with a seeming psychosis that turns out to be what he claims it is.

This is the premise that fuels The Sixth Sense, a deeply moving para-psychological thriller about the possible "realities" of the afterlife. Starring Bruce Willis as Dr. Crowe, and relative newcomer Haley Joel Osment plays Cole, a young man eerily serious and intent about his life, this film takes you through the first legitimately chilling and startling film I've witnessed since Ghost Story. What little blood seen in this film is used to artistic intent, instead of splattering it across the screen like most modern horror films do.

Willis plays Dr. Crowe with compassion and a strange sadness not seen in any performance prior to this in his career. He displays a depth of feeling that reveals, perhaps for the first time, how good an actor he is. Dr. Crowe becomes the hero of the film, especially when he comes to believe young Cole's reality as fact instead of a paranoid delusion. Osment is, quite frankly, amazing. How any young person could play someone so intense, so solemn, so together in the face of something so soul-frightening that must be dealt with daily, is beyond me. I know I couldn't have done it when I was his age, but then again, I grew up in another era entirely.

This film is, hands down, one of the most well-written, well-directed by M. Night Shyamalan and well-produced films that I've seen in recent years. All the clues are there, from the music to the non-verbals between the main characters, from the music, remarkably simple and yet compellingly written by James Newton Howard (Dave, Waterworld, The Prince of Tides) to the muted colors, almost film noir lighting and rather (and I think, deliberately) shaky camera work. This is definitely a film you'll want to see twice, so you can watch it again, knowing the ending which I will say not a word about here. :)

I give this film an enthusiastic A+. This film will take its place alongside such thrillers as Rosemary's Baby, The Exorcist and Ghost Story, and deservedly so. A must see!

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