A young boy who can communicate with the dead seeks the help of a
disheartened child psychologist to help him deal with his terrifying gift.
The Sixth Sense (1999
Written and Directed by M. Night Shyamalan
Starring Bruce Willis, Haley Joel Osment, Toni Collette,
Olivia Williams, Donnie Wahlberg, Trevor Morgan, Bruce Norris
Oscar Nominations - Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor
(Haley Joel Osment), Best Supporting Actress (Toni Collette),
Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best Film Editing
This was the film that set the bar for M. Night Shyamalan, a bar that he has yet to climb over. The Sixth Sense is a poignant blend of drama and horror that brings out the best in its actors and stays in our hearts. It also features one of the most mind-blowing twists in the history of film (we all know what I'm talking about).
Films like The Sixth Sense make me long for the days when Bruce Willis actually cared about his performance. His role as depressed child psychologist Dr. Malcolm Crowe is arguably his best, as he delivers a surprisingly raw performance of a man dealing with what we thinks is the end of his marriage who is starting to doubt his abilities as a doctor. You wouldn't think Bruce "Paycheck" Willis would stand out in a film like this, but stranger things have happened. Of course, former child star Haley Joel Osment steals the show as antisocial ghost whisperer Cole Sear. He was one of the few child actors who could actually act and his chilling delivery of the line "I see dead people" has become iconic for a reason.
As I said before, this film seamlessly blends drama and horror by setting up a straight-up scary ghost movie and having the film evolve into a dramatic story of a broken man trying to heal a broken child's psyche. Scenes like the girl in the tent have remained terrifying, while scenes like Cole channeling his dead grandmother have remained heartbreaking. The Sixth Sense showed the world that M. Night Shyamalan has the talent and the know-how to produce a great film. I just wish his ego would let it happen again.