Browse all reviews by letter     A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z 0 - 9

USA 1999
Directed by
M. Night Shyamalan
107 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3.5 stars

The Sixth Sense

M. Night Shyalaman’s break out feature, is a clever film that in its focus on a “different” child recalls the preoccupations of Steven Spielberg but without the egregious sentimentality (Haley Joel Osment, who plays Cole  would go on to star in Spielberg’s A.I.) .

An out-of-character Bruce Willis plays Malcolm Crowe a leading child psychologist who one night is shot by a former patient (Donnie Wahlberg) who then kills himself. Crowe recovers but the incident has destroyed his professional self-confidence and his relationship with his wife (Olivia Williams).  In an attempt to assuage his guilt at having failed his charge, Crowe begins to work with 9-year old Cole Sear (Osment) who it turns out sees dead people.

Although sometimes it veers towards the heavy-handed (the funeral scene, the second school play) the film manages to hold one’s attention despite its various shortcomings. Willis makes for an unlikely psychologist but his phlegmatic style keeps the scenario grounded.  Osment tends to come across as a squeaky-voiced puppet rather than a real boy but once again, this serves the far-fetched material well whilst Toni Collette and a briefly-seen Olivia Williams add lustre to the lugubriousness of it all. The communion between living and dead is, needless to say, a hoary theme in Hollywood movies and has had very variable results. The Sixth Sense, surprisingly, gets it to work for an adult audience.




Want something different?

random vintage best worst