Movie #196 The Sixth Sense
(1999, US, d. M. Night Shyamalan)
At one point during this Challenge, I was bound to hit a streak oh Shyamalan films, so I decided to start with his better ones. I’ve seen this film many times and to be honest, every time it has affected me less. And to be even more honest, every time I see it, I see more flaws in the film. Though I don’t think this film relies on its twist to be a good one, my biggest complaint lies with the fact that at times this is just a Lifetime film disguised as a horror film. For some reason though it works here. Shyamalan has built his (now falling) empire off extremely delicate dialogue and premises – if anyone says the wrong thing or blows in the wrong direction, everything collapses. But here, as in the case of his far superior superhero melodrama Unbreakable, it all works. Haley Joel Osment turns in a star-making performance, one that will eventually get him into the far more important Kubrick/Spielberg collaboration Artificial Intelligence. Bruce Willis is usually lauded for his performance – it is here though, I think Shyamalan works his magic – to not allow Willis to emote in his usual sense, but rather with his eyes and vocal qualities. These days, I’m actually encountering more and more people who haven’t seen the film, but only know the ending. I suggest you watch it. Though my exuberantly high number of viewings has road-blocked my pleasures, Shyamalan here turns up the scare-factor by simply allowing us to fall in love with these characters, a quality that no one still seems to appreciate in the genre.