Magazine article Anglican Journal
The Sixth Sense Directed by M. Night Shyamalan Starring Bruce Willis **** (out of five) Warning: Frightening scenes, not recommended for children.
"WE BELIEVE ... in all things visible and invisible." It has been a long time since there's been a really good ghost story at the movies. The cinema is a place where a good tale of the supernatural can be spun and waiting for the scare along the way is a quintessential movie-going experience.
With computer-enhanced technology, too often film producers go for the big special effect to deliver a jolt. The Sixth Sense by young filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan resists the lure of technology, instead going for a well-told story, beautifully photographed (by the great cinematographer Tak Fujimoto), with a simple but compelling premise: that a young boy, Cole Sear (Haley Joel Osment) sees ghosts all the time, and they frighten him.
The solution to his problem, typical of the late `90s, is through psychotherapy. The therapist is an award winning child psychologist, fresh from a brush with one of his "mistakes." Shaken by his fallibility, Dr. Malcolm Crowe (Bruce Willis) is unsure of himself, but his skill in developing rapport with Cole ultimately brings a resolution for the child, and for himself.
Shyamalan gives many perspectives: in mirrors, through windows, from below, from inside. When the ghosts start appearing, they're sad, more than frightening, for they are the dead who have been wronged -- unjustly hanged, cruelly burned, murdered with malice of forethought.
Crowe helps Cole realize that all he has to do is to befriend the ghosts and ask them what they want from him. It works -- Cole's terror leaves and the narrative shifts into metaphor: for these are the ghosts of our time and history, and before long we will be among them.
At its core, from the opening images of Dr. …