Friday, July 30, 2010

#38 - The Sixth Sense - 1999

The Sixth Sense was my 3rd movie I chose to watch this week and I forgot how phenomenal this movie was. I had only seen it previously two times before but one of those times was in 1999 when it came out at a Carmike Theaters in Raleigh, NC. I remember it vividly because how can you not with this film. At the time I didn't have a clue about M. Night Shyamalan or who he was but wow!! Below is my detailed review of this film.

The cast for this film was splendid and their acting for this movie was off the charts!! Bruce Willis who plays Dr. Malcolm Crowe was actually Shyamalan's first choice for this film and it was actually written with Willis in mind. Great choice!! 11 year old Haley Joel Osment was cast in the role as Cole Sear with his mother being played by Toni Collette. Collette was good so let me get that out of the way because we need to talk about Osment for a sec. Actually for an entire paragraph so let me finish the rest of this paragraph with other notable actors then dedicate the next paragraph to Osment because he deserves it. Olivia Williams plays Anne Crowe, Malcolm's wife and she is good for as good as one can be in a small role and her co-worker strikingly resembles Trevor on Army Wives but Glenn Fitzgeral who plays Sean is not Drew Fuller who plays that character in Army Wives but the resemblances are amazing. Rounding out the cast is Donnie Wahlberg who played Vincent Grey a paranoid former patient of Crowe's. Wahlberg lost 43lbs for this role and for an actor who is on screen for less than 5 minutes in the entire film you couldn't have gotten much of a better performance. He was brilliant in this short role and his performance really catapulted the start of this film. Excellent!!

Ok back to Osment. Rarely do I spend an entire paragraph on one actors performance but in this case it is necessary. You can expect something similar with Heath Ledger and his performance of the Joker in the Dark Knight later during this marathon. Osment is an 11 year old child who played the role of Cole Sear who was supposed to be 9 and in the early shots of the film he reminded me of a young Harry Potter with his outfits and large oversized glasses. Due to Osment's short height he obviously pulled it off without a problem. What was so unbelievable about his performance was how realistic and natural he was playing this role. In a weird odd way it was like he was born to play this role and no offense to Osment himself but no matter what else he does in his acting career he will always and I mean always be remembered as the child actor who amazed us all in the Sixth Sense, its that simple. From the scenes where he was frightened to the emotional conversations he had with his mother and Dr. Malcolm Crowe he was always completely and wholeheartedly believable, it was really amazing to watch. I have never seen a child actor perform like this before and probably never will, it was that wonderful. His Oscar Nomination was as deserved as any other that year and I have no doubt in my mind his performance was better than that years winner, Michael Caine who won for his performance in Cider House Rules but that's just my opinion.

There were a lot of reasons why I loved this movie but mostly it was the incredible performances and the amazing story that did it for me. The setting of this film wasn't anything extraordinary but it was good and the scares weren't frequent but instead perfectly timed with the flow of the film. Whether it be the shadow of Vincent Grey walking by in the opening sequence or the pink robed lady walking behind Cole while he was going to the restroom while at home they were perfectly placed in this film and although they were not in your face scare scenes when you think of watching a movie on the big screen in a big dark theater sometimes it is scenes like these that scare more than the in your face ones, the obvious ones. I remember in the theater the pink robed lady one getting me more than any other in the film. There was also the little dead girl (Misha Barton) puking in Cole's fort at his home and then later grabbing out at him from under her bed and those scenes were pretty darn creepy too. Who could forget the boy, looking to me like a young Brad Pitt, walking into Cole's room muttering, "c'mon, Ill show you where my Dad keeps his shotgun" while turning and exposing a huge blood spattered hole in his head. It was these type of scenes that made the movie so interesting and eerie.

The film included the line said by Osment "I see Dead People" which is continually on every list you can find of Top 100 film quotes ever. Easily one of the most notable quotes in the past 15 years and it was done so with such brilliant acting by both Osment and Willis so this scene is a classic in every sense of the word. I loved Cole and Malcolm's bond throughout the film and it was highlighted in a scene where Cole saw old townsfolk from the 1800's hanging in the halls of his school. This scene was amazing on so many levels. The acting, the creepy factor of the people hanging all with their eyes open, and the sheer panic by Cole to have Malcolm make them go away. It was scenes like these that really blew me away just like when Cole gave the dead girl's Dad a videotape showing that the mother purposely poisoned her. The scan on the actors faces and capturing that moment was awesome. I know I sound like a broken record but it was so believable and that made it so much more scary.

There were so many great scenes in this film it is hard to list some favorites but here goes. Obviously the "I see dead people" one is up there at the top but I think my favorite one was the emotional conversation Cole had with his mom in their car while stuck in traffic due to a car accident. Cole revealed his secret with her and in an extremely incredible scene he speaks of his Gma and proves to his mother he has a unique ability to speak with the dead. I was surprised to see myself get teary eyed while watching this scene last night but I did at a particular moment in this scene. If you've seen the movie and remember this scene I'm sure you'll know which one I am speaking of. In any matter it was one of my favorites. Not necessarily a favorite scene but one I enjoyed was how Shyamalan gave a slow motion process for the scene where Cole's mom pulls him out from inside a storage space while at a birthday party. It enhanced the scene in my mind and made it much more dramatic.

There were other elements Shyamalan used that I liked and one that I learned in film classic back in college that is a specific sign of danger in movies, the color red. There were a lot of instances where the color red was highlighted in this film. The door handle in Malcolm's house, the balloon at the party, Cole's sweatshirt he wore at the birthday party, the roses at the dead girls funeral reception, and the blanket that provides the roofing for Cole's fort in his room. Shyamalan also has a cameo in this film as he does in all his films and it is playing the doctor who see's Cole after the storage closet incident at the birthday party.

Watching this movie for the third time really gave a different perspective and it was nice that I hadn't seen it for at least 7 or 8 years. I mean its obvious that anytime you ever see it after that first time it will be different but seeing it this week really reminded me of how excellent this film was. The twist at the end was spectacular and I wont mention it here in this blog because lets be honest if you have seen the film you know it anyways and if you haven't I don't want to give it away. This is one of those that you definitely don't want to overhear the ending if you have never seen it, its a shocker! Not much wrong with this film, not anything at all that I can think of so the string of A level grade films continue, for this one it is easily and A+!

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