The concept is that young Cole Sear (Haley Joel Osment) sees ghosts, and they torment him night and day, to the point of physical abuse. Desperate for help, he eventually hooks up with brilliant child psychologist Malcolm Crowe (Bruce Willis), who tries to help him out.
Meanwhile, Cole's mom (Toni Collette) and Malcolm's wife Anna (Olivia Williams) have problems of their own relating to the men in their lives. While these subplots are a bit sketchy at first, they do serve a purpose, coming full circle by the end of the picture.
Writer/director Shyamalan has a few credits under his belt (nothing I've ever seen, though), but his skill at combining the supernatural with the everyday here is pretty well-done, and is largely without intense special effects. As for acting, Willis actually does a credible job with his part, for the first time since 12 Monkeys (1995).
Osment -- previously seen as Forrest Gump Jr. in Forrest Gump, as the kid in the underrated Bogus, and as Murphy Brown's son -- is stellar in his role. Although he over-enunciates to an extreme, he's an excellent actor, and I hope that will carry over to his adult roles later in life.
The Sixth Sense is still a horror/thriller at its heart, so don't expect it to win any great flood of awards. But it's a solid film and the work of a meticulous writer, which is a rare pleasure these days.
UPDATE: It's kind of amusing to look at my original comments about this film, written 2 1/2 years ago when I was getting sick of horror flicks. The Sixth Sense has obviously become a classic, and a well-deserved one. The movie is finally getting the special edition DVD treatment with Disney's Vista series DVD, a double-disc set that features deleted scenes and countless documentaries (many produced recently and looking back at the making of the film). It's a highly recommended collection for any movie lover.
Osment and Willis brood together.
Run time: 107 mins
In Theaters: Friday 6th August 1999
Box Office Worldwide: $672.8M
Distributed by: Hollywood/Buena Vista
Production compaines: Hollywood Pictures, Barry Mendel Productions, Spyglass Entertainment, The Kennedy/Marshall Company
Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 85%
Fresh: 126 Rotten: 22
IMDB: 8.2 / 10
Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Screenwriter: M. Night Shyamalan
Starring: Bruce Willis as Malcolm Crowe, Haley Joel Osment as Cole Sear, Toni Collette as Lynn Sear, Olivia Williams as Anna Crowe, Mischa Barton as Kyra Collins, Donnie Wahlberg as Vincent Grey, Trevor Morgan as Tommy Tammisimo, Greg Wood as Mr. Collins, Jeffrey Zubernis as Bobby, Glenn Fitzgerald as Sean, Bruce Norris as Stanley Cunningham
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