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The Sixth Sense

movie reviewmovie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: The Sixth Sense

Starring: Bruce Willis, Toni Collette
Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 114 Minutes
Release Date: August 1999
Genre: Horror

*Also starring: Toni Collette, Olivia Williams, Donnie Wahlberg, Mischa Barton

Review by John Beachem
4 stars out of 4

By now, the vast majority of people will have heard all about "The Sixth Sense". They will probably have heard about the brilliant ending, the wonderful performances, and the chilling storyline. This is quite a shame. I'm glad to have seen it almost immediately after release, so as to avoid much of this talk. After seeing it, I will say this much, this film is outstanding.

Dr. Malcolm Crowe (Willis) is a gifted child psychologist. The film opens with he and his wife (Olivia Williams ) celebrating a recent award he received from the mayor. However, a patient of his from years before named Vincent Gray (Donnie Wahlberg in a remarkable, if short performance) breaks in, shoots Crowe, and then himself. Next autumn, we see Crowe physically recovered from his wounds, but a shadow of the man he once was. His marriage is falling apart as he and his wife hardly speak and she is slowly drifting into an affair. Crowe's newest patient is a young boy named Cole Sear (Haley Joel Osmet). Sear is showing very similar problems to those experienced by Gray back when Crowe was treating him. Crowe slowly earns the boy's trust, and Sear tells Crowe his secret. I know almost everyone knows what his secret is, but I'm still not going to state it here, just in case the reader is one of the few who hasn't heard.

I often hear Bruce Willis's acting talents criticized, and I will admit that he tends to play the exact same character over and over in different situations. He is capable of breaking into other roles however (see In County, 12 Monkeys). Here, he plays a quiet, caring psychologist who wants nothing more than to help this boy and get his life back on track. His talents really show through in the way he is able to take a back seat to the real star of the movie, Haley Joel Osmet. If Osmet doesn't recieve a nomination from the academy, it will be the greatest tragedy since "Titanic" beat "LA Confidential" for best picture.

This is a wonderful movie. Touching, chilling, engrossing, this film is everything one could want out of a movie. This is not to say it's flawless, but the few flaws are so tiny they don't detract from the experience at all. As for the much talked about ending, it's the greatest I've seen since "The Usual Suspects". It's also not there just for shock value. If one looks back on the film afterwards, the ending explains many things which didn't entirely make sense before.

As I said, the flaws are hardly noticeable, but I feel compelled to point them out. The music is, at times, rather irritating. Whenever anything surprising happens, the old, cliche horror movie sound of "dah dah!" is played. At the start of the film, Anna Crowe wraps her arms around her husband and says something to the extent of "You're a brilliant child psychologist who has helped hundreds of people and made great advances in your field". I expected the frame to freeze on him and have his name appear with a caption explaining what he did.

Despite these minute problems, this is an exceptional movie. I reccomend everyone see it, and give it a well earned five stars.

* * * * * - One of the greatest movies ever made, see it now. * * * * - Great flick, try and catch this one. * * * - Okay movie, hits and misses. * * - Pretty bad. See it if you've got nothing better to do. * - One of the worst movies ever. See it only if you enjoy pain.

Copyright 2000 John Beachem

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