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  Re: My problem with The Sixth Sense...  
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• Posted by C. Hook
• Date: Tuesday, July 25, 2006, at 10:55 p.m.
• IP Address:
• In Response to: Re: My problem with The Sixth Sense... (Smalltown_Poets)

> What? It's my problem that I can't accept the film's internal
> inconsistencies? Poison girl knows she's dead but he doesn't? He obviously
> thinks he's very real and alive or it wouldn't be a huge revelation
> to him that he's really dead! He's not just doing "normal, living
> dude stuff" but actively using his mental resources in a real world
> environment, observing and comprehending input as a frakkin' psychiatrist
> while trying to help the kid. I mean, he figures out he's dead by using
> his reasoning! Had his capacity for rational thought been faulty until
> that point? If you're a ghost for a certain amount of time your capacity
> to think comes back? Did his mind suddently "turn on?"

I don't know. I'm not a ghost.

The film doesn't know either... that's why they call it "supernatural". I think it's silly to argue about such things, because what's next? For me, Cole's description of ghosts ("They see what they want to see") fits into the same category as ghosts existing at all. I don't want to be explained the nature of the unexplainable, those contrived analyses bad screen writers add to their movies in hopes of the audience "getting it". For me, it's perfectly reasonable for a fantastic creature (in this case, the kind-of-undead) to experience denial in fantastical ways, like forgetting the trauma of their own death and neglecting a big chunk of their environment.

The film, viewed as a whole, is really about coming to terms with life (and death). For Cole, it's about making his gift/curse a part of his life and using it for good, instead of trying the impossible, to make it go away. For Malcolm, it's about coming out of his denial and stop scaring the crap out of his wife. It's a good fantasy tale with some scares in between and I don't think it's necessary to understand that which isn't possible to understand.

> And another thing (perhaps this can be explained, but I don't remember
> how): why is it never cold or whatever when Bruce is around?

It is. His wife and Cole get the chills, which brings me to...

> Is it really
> the kid controlling the weather and since he thinks Bruce is real the
> temperature doesn't go down?

Cole knows Malcolm is dead. In a way, both are giving each other therapy.

> No, you see I DON'T typically think that the ending makes a movie. But: 1)
> That is the way I definitely feel Night and co set up the movie, as
> evidenced by interviews with the filmmakers themsevles. I've not seen the
> special features recent enough to give specific quotes and examples, but I
> got the impression from the filmmakers themselves the movie is basically
> about the twist. When I first watched the movie on VHS there was an
> actual freakin' documentary at the end (on the VHS!) about how amazingly
> proud they were of the twist ending I had just seen. Right after the
> credits end, the filmmakers show up and barrage me about how they
> negotiated how many clues to leave, contrived around obvious problems like
> covering up Bruce's bullet wound, etc. THEY'RE the ones telling me how
> they want me to look at their film. And 2) what about looking at it
> without the twist? I think it's an okay supernatural thriller with good
> performances with a tad too much sap. With the twist, I feel one of the
> main characters is rendered an idiot upon subsequent viewings. Either way,
> it's not a great film to me.

It's not a great film, period. I don't feel anything either way towards it, it's just that I believe the point you're trying to make could be used against most other films, literature, and even religion, where it's usally more at home with. Leaving all wonder and mystique out from the workings, if any, of the afterlife and trying to fit it into a concept of logic we can understand under our terms, that which we can see, test, and feel, merits the sole idea of exploring it (even in a modest Hollywood film) without meaning. That's how I feel.

> But I think that's all I have to say; I don't really want to continue into
> a longer debate about such a film. I doubt I'll see the film again (though
> if I do, I will try to be open-minded, as usual) and I am quite reticient
> to prod you too much as I've see how vehement you can get when defending
> films you like (cough *Spielberg* cough).

I don't usually try to convince others of measuring their tastes to mine -- except that time I tried to get Yavar to accept the only reason he thought Willow (the movie, not the hot lesbian) was better than Star Wars was because of his fond, childhood memories -- but to hear me out on the virtues I see and think are worthwhile in a specific work. However, I hate, I absolutely hate, the "interpreter", well beyond his impressionable college liberal years, the guy who's arrogance and ego are matched only by his cluelessness, the guy who... well, remember that scene in Annie Hall where Alvy and Annie are waiting in line for a movie and that guy's mouthing off on the subject of Fellini and then McLuhan only to be interrupted by Alvy and the real McLuhan from behind a movie poster telling him he doesn't know what he's talking about? That guy.

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