|Fig 1 - The Sixth Sense Poster|
The Sixth Sense begins with a scene in which child-psychologist Malcolm Crowe (Bruce Willis) is visited by an ex-patient who breaks into his home and shoots him unexpectedly. The film then jumps forward to a point at which Malcolm's marriage is falling apart due to work commitments. He becomes fascinated with a new patient by the name of Cole (Haley Joel Osment), a troubled nine-year-old boy who wants nothing more than to live a normal life. However, Cole's dark secret makes his attempts to appear ordinary evermore difficult, until finally he is forced to divulge the fact that he "sees dead people". Malcolm then takes it upon himself to help Cole figure out why this is and whether or not there is a solution to his supernatural predicament...
The film is only one of four nominees in Oscar history to be considered for the "horror" genre, losing out on six potential wins overall. Nevertheless, it has since become one of the most popular thrillers to date, including one of the most inventive uses of a "plot twist" in cinematic history.
|Fig 2 - The Sixth Sense - Cole|
For my money, Haley Joel Osment gives the performance of a lifetime in this film. His range for a child actor feels uncannily backed-up by decades of training. Yet, Osment was only eleven during filming and still manages to convey the same emotional depth and dimension of a career-professional thrice his senior. The penultimate scene of the film also showcases Toni Collette's abilities in the best way possible, as the conclusion to her character's loss of control finally culminates in an emotional flood of understanding. Of course, Willis also delivers a great performance as Cole's aide to the unusual situation he finds himself in. It's not a 'showy' role, but it's heartfelt enough to make me forget about his persona as an action star.
Overall, I think The Sixth Sense is a near-perfect film. Whether you know the twist or not, there is always a detail embedded in the rich structure to pick up on later. Sentimental, dark and ultimately gripping, Shyamalan proves his genius with The Sixth Sense in such a way that hasn't been topped by him since. Or by many others, for that matter.
Fig. 1 The Sixth Sense Poster (1999) From: The Sixth Sense - Directed by: M. Night Shyamalan
Fig. 2 The Sixth Sense Screenshot (1999) From: The Sixth Sense - Directed by: M. Night Shyamalan