The Sixth Sense is M. Night Shyamalan first big budget and best film. It’s a film that heavily relies on the creating and maintaining of a certain atmosphere. It has a psychological tension that’s only broken in a few scenes( Magic trick scene ao.). A little comical relief( although there are only 2 such scenes) is very welcome to not make the story too heavy (so everyone can enjoy it). Films tend to get boring if the story is too linear.
The Sixth Sense has a surprise ending ( many films will use this in the following years) but it’s not all about the ending ( in contrary to certain other films that I will not name to avoid spoiling). The story on itself is very interesting but the ending is the cherry on the pie. Many who saw it the first time were in disbelief: is this right…? After re-watching it several times…yes it is. The plot is almost watertight. I suppose if you want to you can always find tiny little mistakes but I haven’t found any big ones.
The Sixth Sense is unbelievably well cast: Bruce Willis delivers his 2nd best performance( 12 Monkeys is his best), debutant Haley Joel Osment is excellent( his performance in A.I is also excellent, other movies of his were mostly disappointing performances), Toni Colette delivers the first in a long series of Oscar-worthy performances (also see The Night Listener, The Hours, Little Miss Sunshine ao. ) and the performance of Donnie Wahlberg musn’t be forgotten even though he only gets 3 minutes of screen time. Olivia Williams may be the only lesser performance in the lead cast but she still does an OK job.
We can see several Shyamalan’s trademarks for the first time: He uses very natural colors( brown, white, gray, beige, green) in the interiors and clothing. Another trademark for his work is the fragmentary use of a rich red color to break with the dull colors in the background. He doesn’t overuse the red so it preserves its power. We can also see Shyamalan’s excellent use of colors in The Village ( even more then in the sixth sense): red stands for evil,misfortune and fear while yellow stands for weakness. The Village is M. Night’s third best film in my opinion (Unbreakable is the one that closest approaches TSS brilliance). It’s also unbelievably well-acted, the story is strong, the settings are beautiful…definitely worth watching ( if hope you have seen it but if you haven’t…you know what to do). It’s a bit under-appreciated on IMDb but don’t let that fool you.
I’m no direction expert but I found it to be brilliant. The brilliance lies in the details; the excellent use of mirrors and shadows, the lighting, eccentric camera viewpoints,…it’s a delight for a filmenthousiast( like yours truly) to watch. You can feel Shyamalan is both writer and director; he knows exactly what to do with the material and which camera shot would be best for which scene.
What makes The Sixth Sense into a brilliant film( what distinguishes it from other great films)? It’s hard to explain but it’s a magical film to watch. Certainly one of my personal favorite films.
10/10 for this flawless piece of brilliance !!