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Scott Ventura >> Movie Commentary >> June 2000 >> The Sixth Sense

The Sixth Sense

Movie Commentary by Scott Ventura


Scott's Rating:
5 / 5
Times Seen:
Viewing Date:
June 2000
IMDB Name:
Sixth Sense, The (1999)
M. Night Shyamalan
drama, horror, suspense
MPAA Rating:
PG-13 for intense thematic material and violent images.

True Suspense

In retrospect, I'm sorry to have waited so long to see The Sixth Sense. As a result, countless bits have been spoiled for me by a combination of trailers, friends, parodies, and award ceremonies. Even so, I was glued to my seat waiting to see where things were going. M. Night Shyamalan's story feels carefully and methodically crafted with a style to match, and the payoff is huge. The movie is eerily quiet in its sound, its characters, its sets, and its pace that the jump moments succeeded in getting to me without feeling cheap. The diversions into the macabre are scary because they're presented without great fanfare. I was amazed that it took so long to get to the parts in the trailers, but the build-up is worth the time. And then there's the plot twist, which is what makes you leave the viewing going over the movie again and again in your mind.

I was also drawn in by the cinematography of Tak Fujimoto. The colors on the screen have a supernatural feel to them that reminded me a little of the juxtapositions of colored and colorless objects in Pleasantville. There's also something interesting about the fades to black. The best way I can describe it is to say that the blue fades more slowly than the other colors. The result is chilling.

My opinion of Bruce Willis has been getting better and better recently after watching him here and in Pulp Fiction. The weary understatement works in his favor. Haley Joel Osment probably has a great future ahead of him, but I think he's so captivating in Sixth Sense because he plays an unusually intelligent character for his age. He's spent his life covering for things, and his ability to think on his feet is very well developed, which is far more than can be said about most kid characters. I found Toni Collette to be the acting highlight of the movie. She's even better here than she was as the hero of Clockwatchers. Olivia Williams is as radiant as she was in Rushmore, and she's given similarly difficult scenes to play.

DVD Comments

The DVD for The Sixth Sense has a surprising array of interviews grouped by topic. The music and sound design are one group, the cast is another, and the list goes on. Director/Writer M. Night Shyamalan is heavily featured, and he seems like a really nice guy. He cements this by including a clip of his first horror film, which somebody with a typical Hollywood ego would never allow. I would still have preferred commentaries and maybe isolated scores to get a true shot-by-shot description of the intentions, but I'm just greedy. Biographies, though not filmographies, are included for a hefty number of both cast members and crew members.

The disc commits one unacceptable gaff at startup. There are nine minutes worth of trailers for several of the studio's other movies which are shown every time the disc is inserted. The programming disables the menu button during them, so the only way past them is to skip each movie's individual chapter stops with the fast forward button. The movies have no thematic connection to Sixth Sense and most are not even in the same league. It is a cheap marketing ploy to make people sit through this. Given the likely longevity of the disc in a collection, seeing a trailer preceeded by "Now in theaters" passes through laughable only briefly on it's way to utterly annoying. I hope that this does not set a precedent for other DVDs.

The menu design is reasonably good, including a nice scene selector. I am bothered by finding the aforementioned "Preview Trailers" sequence on the first screen precisely where I expected to find Sixth Sense's trailers. Those are tucked under "Publicity" on the second screen. I would be more forgiving if the other movies' trailers were individually selectable from their own menu. The cast and crew biographies are a bit lacking in the interface department, since each is preceded by a screen of instructions to use the left and right remote arrows to page from screen to screen. I've seen plenty of other discs that used the same controls but put a visual representation on the screen, and none of them required instructions! The movie is watchable with English or French audio, but the selection must be made from the disc's setup menu and can't be changed during the film.

See the IMDB information on The Sixth Sense's DVD or compare prices at DVD Price Search.

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Copyright 2000-2001 by Scott Ventura. All rights reserved.