Celebrating Great Films

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Sixth Sense

#143 at time of writing.

To say that this is M. Night Shyamalan's best film would not be telling the whole truth. Far more accurate would be to say that this is his only remotely good film.

Yet it is a very good film. It has all the hallmarks of his worst stinkers - e.g. schmaltzy monsters, a tendency towards over-earnest cheesiness, an excess of focus on plot for the sake of the twist - yet somehow manages to dodge between the cracks and end up being a satisfying and very touching masterpiece.

Perhaps he should stick to being a writer, and let better directors realise his work - or the other way around. (This was a spec script of his, one twelve released films that he's written as of 2013, ten of which he directed. And one of which is any good. Did I say that already?)

The story is about a child who claims, "I see dead people" (the American Film Institute's #44 movie quote of all time), and the skeptical but kind child psychologist who tries to treat him. Despite trying to avoid spoilers, I heard a little about the twist ending, and for years I dismissed it as sounding too similar to The Others. When I finally got around to seeing it, I was pleasantly surprised. I got so into the film that I forgot about the twist, and when it came it had the full effect. Thrilling.

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