In honor of M. Night Shyamalan’s latest film, which apparently isn’t complete horse s***, I went back and re-watched the film that launched his career so high that the only place he could have gone was down, The Sixth Sense. Set in Philadelphia Pennsylvania (holla!) we meet a child psychologist played by Bruce Willis, a man that is the best at what he does which is help children. From a dangerous encounter with one of his former mentally troubled patients, Dr. Malcolm Crowe (Willis) takes on a new patient, an 8 year old Cole Sear played by Haley Joel Osment with a terrifying ability that tortures his every day existence.
Shyamalan’s well crafted story detailing the horrors of fear and death can still make your skin crawl with the tension filled scenes full of ghosts and gory imagery. Casting Haley Joel Osment in what might be one of the best child performances of all time, proved to pay off as he was the youngest actor to ever be nominated for an Academy Award, and it’s not only a great performance by a child actor, but by any actor in general . It was often mortifying to see what Osment’s character went through as such a tender aged character.
Considered more of a supernatural thriller than a horror/thriller, it still brings the idea of ghosts and fear inducing situations to the big screen in an encompassing manner. One thing that stays in the back of your mind is the perfect usage of the color red in the film. Shot in nearly every scene, the color brings symbolism to what goes on around a specific sequence of events allowing a highlight to the issues the characters are facing. Though the film’s iconic line has since been spoiled and/or parodied by countless outlets, it’s knowing what the twist is or isn’t that can still make your skin crawl.
Shyamalan truly does use the most intellectually sound directing devices to hide all the bits and pieces that will eventually conclude the film in ways first time viewers were likely never aware of. A smoothly written script gives us glimpses of what these characters are going through allowing the film to drive home it’s hall of fame status as one of the most well crafted films of all time. Bruce Willis gives one of his most subdued roles in his career that is up there with one of his best. Avoiding any violent action scenes or even the use of a weapon, you can believe that Willis could have saved your child from a troubled past and future.
The plot of the film wraps up with a satisfying conclusion no matter how many viewings you’ve had of it. Everything ages like wine and becomes equally as fruitfully potent with age. It’s understandable why we like to criticize M. Night for his last four films or so and no one will argue that, but knowing what he did for cinema in 1999 and even with his films until The Village are nothing to gawk at. All this positive feedback to this film are why I have to give The Sixth Sense an A+. If you need a reaffirmation to if M. Night is a talented director just go back to this film and understand why we need to succeed in his next endeavors.