Urban Cinefile
"I remember seeing Robert Wagner on fire in The Towering Inferno. Itís kind of cathartic. "  -Tim Burton, director, Mars Attacks!
 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Monday, February 19, 2018 

Printable page PRINTABLE PAGE



Decorated child psychologist Dr Malcolm Crowe (Bruce Willis) is haunted by his inability to cure a former patient (Donnie Wahlberg). Then he meets Cole (Haley Joel Osment), an eight-year-old with a dark secret; he sees dead people, who don't know they're dead yet. As the bond between doctor and patient grows, Crowe helps Cole cope with his isolation from his peers and his mum (Toni Collette), who doesn't yet know his secret. In return, Cole helps Crowe deal with some skeletons of his own, including a wilting marriage to Anna (Olivia Williams).

Review by Shannon J. Harvey:
You've gotta love those moments in cinema that take you totally by surprise and get you talking for the rest of week. Well, when The Sixth Sense was released (deliberately) without much fanfare in August 1999, it took the world by surprise, and everyone was talking about it. The dynamic debut of young Osment (robbed of the supporting Oscar, if you ask me). The against-type role of Bruce Willis. The Hollywood breakthrough of Toni Collette. The new writing and directing talent of Shyamalan. Most of all, the world was talking about THAT ending - probably the best twist in the history of cinema. Or at least since Anthony Perkins revealed his motherly
dementia in Psycho.

Speaking of Hitchcock, Indian-born Shyamalan has been compared to Hitch ever
since this record-breaking breakthrough, which currently sits as the 14th highest grossing film of all-time. Shyamalan confirmed his talent with the underrated thriller Unbreakable in 2000, and continued to surprise with Signs last year. All three spook-fests have been critical and commercial hits, making Shyamalan hot property in Hollywood, and his method of meticulously crafted slow-burn suspense, shadowy camera-work, telling clues and surprise endings has many thinking he is Hitchcock re-incarnated.†

There's plenty more to say about him and this ground-breaking ghost story, but to the DVD - which is the second coming after 2000's featureless release. Like the film, the extras on this nicely presented two-disc collector's edition are best enjoyed without too much prior-knowledge. The first is Reflections from the Set, a 40-minute behind-the-scenes documentary filmed during the making and complete with cast and crew interviews, clips, set footage and backstory to the script. Shymalan is at his sensitive,
thoughtful, intelligent best, candidly discussing his script failures, how he came up with that ending, and child-prodigy Osment. Find out why Willis signed up immediately, why Wahlberg wanted to get his gear off, and about Osment's spookily-good on-cue crying.†

Between the Worlds is a documentary on supernatural phenomena featuring Exorcist author William Peter Blatty and a host of experts. They all get their two cents worth, even though some comments - such as which cut of The Exorcist is better - jars with the whole. See clips from The Exorcist and Ghost and Shymalan's student film offerings (a real treat). In The Storyboard Process, Shymalan and artist Brick Mason reveal why they rely on visual storyboarding - a unique, intricate filmmaking process, and perhaps the key to Shymalan's success. It's followed by Music and Sound Design with composer James Howard, who had the unnerving task of capturing the eerie sound of The Sixth Sense. Reaching the Audience is a short feature about the box office success of the film (producers feared it would flop after the success of The Blair Witch Project, which had opened a month earlier). This is followed by Rules and Clues, in which the producers reveal devices that needed to be observed to make the ending feasible. This insightful, enjoyable behind-the-scenes two-disc set ends with deleted scenes, an extended ending, trailers and cast and crew bios.†

A film to be appreciated again and again is finally given its due on DVD.

Published June 12, 2003

Email this article


(US) - 1999

CAST: Bruce Willis, Toni Collette, Olivia Williams, Haley Joel Osment, Donnie Wahlberg.

DIRECTOR: M. Night Shymalan


RUNNING TIME: 103 minutes

PRESENTATION: 1:85:1, 16:9 enhanced, Dolby Digital 5.1 & DTS

SPECIAL FEATURES: Behind the Scenes - Reflections from the Set, Stories of the Supernatural - Between Two Worlds, Moving Pictures - The Storyboard Process, Music and Sound Design, Filmmaker Interviews - Reaching the Audience, Rules and Clues, Deleted Scenes, Publicity, Filmmakers' and Cast Bios.

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Buena Vista Home Entertainment

DVD RELEASE: June 2, 2003

© Urban Cinefile 1997 - 2018