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Teen Movie Critic

Jamey Hughton

August 4, 1999

Jamey Hughton is a 15 yr old student in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. He has written a weekly published column, MOVIE VIEWS for The StarPhoenix, the Saskatoon daily paper, since November, 1997. He was honoured to be a 1999 Writing Finalist in the Canadian YTV Achievement Awards.

He maintains a Web site MOVIE VIEWS by Jamey Hughton.

His reviews are now also found at: IMDb, MRQE and the Newsgroup.

The Sixth Sense

The Sixth Sense is a genuine, unexpected treasure in a summer plagued with severe disappointments. It manages to be creepy, unsettling, heart-felt and emotionally satisfying all at the same time.

Is there a minimum age required for an Oscar nomination? If not, an early suggestion would be Haley Joel Osment for his amazing performance in this film. Osment, from Bogus and Forrest Gump, is the most talented and credible child actor to grace the good screen in years. His tears of sadness and despair are so frighteningly real it will give you goosebumps. The mediocrity of a younger actorís performance often downplays the overall effect of a film like this, but The Sixth Sense is definitely not the case.

Bruce Willis, in a welcome change of pace, plays child psychologist Malcolm Crowe. Crowe has been praised for his efforts for helping the cityís children, and awarded with a framed commendation plaque from the mayor. But a former patient enters his house, and in a fury of rage of fear, shoots Crowe and then turns the gun on himself.

Skip to "Next Fall", where Crowe is now a shadow of his former self. His new patient is eight-year old Cole Sear (Osment), a social outcast who is haunted by something he canít explain. His mother (Toni Collette) is seriously concerned about the strange bruises and cuts forming on Coleís wrists and back, but she too is totally unaware of the boyís serious condition. After a few sessions discussing his parentsí divorce, the boy begins to feel more secure with Dr. Crowe. And so Cole works up the courage to tell him his secret: "I see dead people," he says. "Walking around like regular people."

The Sixth Sense is not a traditional thriller by any means. Director M. Night Shyamalan has crafted a sensational and surprising little drama that will chill your spine and warm your heart both at once. There are frightening moments and shocking images, but the overall emotions displayed here will have you uplifted while leaving the theater.

This is Bruce Willisí best performance...well, ever. The actor displays incredible power and realism with his character that comes as an unexpected fulfillment. The scenes between Willis and young Osment strike the perfect tone. The lines are perfectly delivered, the emotions are played perfectly, and their relationship is marvelously realized and never artificial. Actually, it seems as if the adult actors are given new opportunities to shine whenever around the extraordinary Osment. The relationship between Cole and his mother is also touching and well-balanced, and never altered by any kind of emotional fakery. The directions The Sixth Sense will take you are unexpected and extremely effective right until the end (and I do mean the very end).

The Sixth Sense is probably the best movie Iíve seen all year. Itís an amazing, unparalleled and fulfilling experience. The performances are virtually flawless, the screenplay is consistently well-written, the dialogue is totally absorbing, and the direction leaves little margin for error. The final twist of the film is so clever and unexpected that you will ponder it for weeks afterward. In closing, this is a movie that you simply canít miss.

My Rating = Four Stars

Jamey Hughton can be reached directly at movieviews@hotmail.com.
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