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The Sixth Sense

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It must be difficult to cast films where the central character is a young child, particularly when the role is so emotionally demanding. In the case of Avy Kaufman, she either got very lucky or made an inspired choice by casting Haley Joel Osment. He plays Cole Sear and owns the screen for the large majority of the show. Cole is tormented but it isn't until about half way through the film that we find out it is because he can see the dead. And to an eight-year-old, being visited by disturbed, maimed and angry spirits is horrifying. It's made all the worse because he has no one he can turn to for support. He is the only one who can see ghosts and his behavior has made him a freak in the eyes of his classmates and teacher. ...read more.


The film builds slowly, which is not to imply that it is dull. In fact a better description would be "mesmerizing". We are forced to care for young Cole as a clearer picture is painted of his day to day existence. No night is safe for him, no place is free of fear and no one understands his torment. In a desperate bid for sanctuary he turns to the church and the questionable protection of religious symbols, which he shamelessly steals, building a chapel in his bedroom. His local church is where Cole and Malcolm first meet, after a strange solo dash down the street. And so begins the careful building of a relationship, a friendship, and eventually a salvation for both of them. For Cole is not the only one with problems. Dr Crowe is also a changed man. ...read more.


And so Malcolm's diagnosis is understandable. Once the secret is out however, our viewpoint is released and we are able to see as Cole does. His world is populated by terrifying beings that seem ignorant of their own maimed appearance and, in Cole's words, only see what they choose to see and have no understanding of their own death. His midnight callers create some of the scariest cinema I've seen in years. Not because of cutting edge special effects but because we share Cole's helplessness in the face of his "gift". Even his homemade church offers no protection and he is driven past despair. I can't go any further into the story without running the risk of spoiling the final plot twist. Instead, I will simply beg you to see this gripping, intelligent and deeply emotional movie. Let's put some more money in the pockets of director M. Night Shyamalan in the hopes that he will continue to make movies of this caliber. 1 1 ...read more.

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