Stars: Bruce Willis, Haley Joel Osment, Toni Collette
“The Sixth Sense” is a terrific mood piece, an intelligent psychological thriller that is far eerier than any horror film that’s hit the screens recently.
Bruce Willis stars as Dr. Malcolm Crowe, a child psychologist opposite Haley Joel Osment as Cole Sear, a boy with a very scary secret. Osment is one of the best child actors I’ve seen in a very long time and he virtually steals the show from Willis. But, I’m sure that doesn’t bother Willis in the least. As the psychologist, Willis portrays warmth, sensitivity and keen awareness, a refreshing departure from his gung-ho man with a gun. Willis is a fine actor and should be doing more of these kinds of films.
The tale begins on a night when Crowe, home celebrating recognition by the city of Philadelphia for his work with children, is confronted with a former patient named Vincent, now grown, who remains woefully tormented by his demons. In anger and despair, Vincent shoots the good doctor then himself. After Crowe recovers from his wounds, he takes on new patient Cole who appears to have many of the same disorders that Vincent did. Crowe hopes to heal Cole to make up for past failures.
The task Crowe takes on puts an unusual strain on his marriage to Anna (Olivia Williams) and more and more he feels her slipping away.
It’s a long time before Cole trusts the doctor enough to reveal his darkest secrets, and when he does, look out. These are extraordinarily intense moments.
The film is creepy and its photography has a dark feel to it to set the mood right from the start. The screenplay is very well written indeed and while it seems to get a little slow coming down the homestretch, a good twist kick-starts it back … right into your gut.
Toni Collette plays Cole’s mom and Donnie Wahlberg appears as Vincent.
Lotta says “The Sixth Sense” is A-plus on all fronts!