The Sixth Sense

Every trailer, poster, and commercial for The Sixth Sense contains young Cole Sear (Haley Joel Osment, Forrest Gump's son) whispering the line "I see dead people." Sadly, writer and director M. Night Shyamalan intended this line to be discovered somewhere near the midpoint of the movie, instead of spoiling it in all of the ads. A lot of the resulting creepiness in the first half is thus ruined, since you already know the cause of the problem. The second half of the movie manages to overcome this problem.

Bruce Willis is Dr. Malcome Crowe, a distinguished child psychologist. He is honored by the city of Philadelphia and is celebrating with his wife Anne (Olivia Williams, Rushmore) when a grown up patient of his appears in their house and commits suicide. The patient (Donnie Wahlberg, from New Kids on the Block, of all people) blames Crowe for not healing him. His patient's death haunts him, wreaking havoc on both is marriage and his performance as a psychologist. When Crowe meets Cole, he sees many of the same characteristics, and sees a chance for redemption. If Crowe can 'heal' young Cole, maybe he can he can heal his marriage and his career. Cole is a troubled young child who lives with is mother Lynn (Toni Collette from Muriel's Wedding and The Velvet Goldmine), a struggling single mother. The Sixth Sense is really two movies. One is the growing relationship between Cole and Crowe. As they spend more time together, Crowe develops a paternal love for Cole. He truly wants to help this young boy through all of his troubles. The other story is of Crowe trying to put his life back together. Reeling from his apparent failure as a psychologist, Crowe personally needs to get his life back together. The two stories intertwine increasingly until Shyamalan's surprise ending, which comes far from left field.

Lately, Willis has broadened his range from just hunky action hero to full blown actor. Here, he gives a moving performance as a man trying to piece together his life. Collette portrays Lynn as portrayed as a very loving mother, who is increasingly frustrated with the growing distance between her and her son. She wants to provide for him, but is because of her divorce, needs to work two jobs. It's too bad that her role was small. Osment is also good, well, as good as a little kid can get in a movie. The release date was pushed back because of the surprise performance of The Blair Witch Project. However, this movie should fare well against many of the other movies it is up against, since studios tend to release movies of lesser potential near the end of the summer. The Sixth Sense is a lot darker than much of the other fluff released so far. It makes you jump at just the right moments, and uses a constant, effective, fade to black between scenes that heightens the eerieness. As good as the film is, it would have been even better had the trailer not spoiled Cole's secret.

Haro Rates It: Pretty Good
1 hour, 47 minutes, Rated PG-13 for violent images and intense material.

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