The Sixth Sense
Release year: 1999
Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Screenwriter: M. Night Shyamalan
Starring: Bruce Willis, Haley Joel Osment, Toni Collette, Olivia Williams, Trevor Morgan, Donnie Wahlberg; Mischa Barton
Ratings: 6 Oscar nominations: Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor (Haley Joel Osment), Best Supporting Actress (Toni Collette), Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best Film Editing. 2 Golden Globe nominations: Best Supporting Actor (Haley Joel Osment), Best Screenplay. 1 Empire Award: Best Director.
Child psychologist Malcolm Crowe (Willis) has a traumatizing experience with an ex-patient (Wahlberg) he was unable to help, so when he meets the troubled Cole (Osment) who has similar problems, he is determined to help him.
It seemed Shyamalan (Unbreakable, 2000) came out of nowhere with this, his third directorial feature film and boy did he get our attention! This chilly, tense and atmospheric slow burner of a psychological horror thriller is still considered his finest work and is also considered one of the best horror movies in modern times. One of the main reasons is the stellar performances from the cast. Willis (Die Hard, 1988) started moving away from only being an action hero in the mid-90s and here he delivers one of his very best performances, once and for all shutting anyone who might have claimed he couldn’t act. His Malcolm is a quiet and thoughtful man, expressing a lot with very little as he patiently guides us through Cole’s devastating story. Ah yes, Cole. The movie might have hit us from nowhere, but so did young Osment (Pay it Forward, 2000). With a sea of emotions in his eyes, the young boy delivered a performance way beyond his years and was treated to an Oscar nomination in return, one of the youngest to do so, and even got to deliver one of the most memorable movie quotes of time. As always Collette (Little Miss Sunshine, 2006) is amazing. Here she even understands to glide in the background and let Cole get the focus, but when she is required to shine, she shines, and she shines bright. The role brought her her unbelievably so far only Oscar nomination. A big praise should also be given to the director. Shyamalan has a knack for using uncharacteristic angles to great effect and isn’t afraid to take his time telling his story. Perhaps because he knows how good it is. The result is a beautiful story with so much more depth than just a horror story. It is also about loss, about failure, about family and about friendship. When people talk of the movie today it is hard to avoid the ending, but in case you are one of the few who haven’t heard the twist, we will carefully leave it unsaid here and instead just highly recommend this undoubtedly future horror classic.
Reportedly, Haley Joel Osment got the role of Cole Sear for one of three reasons. First, he was best for it. Second, he was the only boy at auditions who wore a tie. Third, director M. Night Shyamalan was surprised when he asked Haley Joel Osment if he read his part. Osment replied, “I read it three times last night.” Shyamalan was impressed, saying, “Wow, you read your part three times?” To which Osment replied, “No, I read the script three times.”
Picture copyrights: Disney