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The Sixth Sense Essay

The film that I have chosen to analyse is ‘The Sixth Sense’. I will analyse two important scenes: scenes 5 and 6. M. Night Shyamalyn directed the film. The film was released in 1999. The movie is about Dr Malcolm Crowe (Willis) who is a distinguished child psychologist haunted by the painful memory of a disturbed young patient he was unable to help. So when he meets Cole Sear (Haley Joel Osment) a frightened, confused eight-year-old with a similar condition. Dr Crowe seeks to redeem himself by doing everything he can. Nevertheless, Malcolm is unprepared to learn the truth of what haunts Cole: terrifying, unwanted visits from dead people.

The scenes that I will be looking at are scenes 5 and 6. I will look at the different types of techniques that are used to portray the fact that Dr Crowe is dead but the director uses different camera angles and shots to make the audience believe he is alive. In scene 5 the main use of shot is a long shot. The director uses this type of shot to lead the audience to believe that Dr Crowe is a part of the conversations going on between Cole and his mother. When the scene first starts Dr Crowe and Cole’s mother are sitting in a position in the lounge facing each other at an angle, which is towards the door.

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You only see this for half a second as Cole walks through the door, which then changes Dr Crowe and Cole’s mothers’ position to make it seem as if they have been having a conversation. The way in which they rotate in the chairs that they are sitting in misleads the audience into thinking that they have been in discussion. Cole’s mother gets up and greets Cole, they have a brief conversation on the day they’ve had, but while in the conversation the camera views cut to Dr Crowe, showing a medium shot. In the medium shot of Dr Crowe you can see his facial expressions and body language.

The way in which he is portraying it is showing the audience that he is listening to the conversation, as if he is a part of the conversation going on between Cole and his mother. The medium shot is also used when Cole and his mother are conversing. The way in which they position themselves is in a way which ‘invites’ Dr Crowe to listen in on what they are saying and gather more information, which again miss-leads the audience but Cole’s mother and Cole don’t do this on purpose, the director has manipulated the characters positions to make the audience think that Dr Crowe is alive.

When Cole and Cole’s mother have finished their conversation, Cole’s mother says to Cole about dinner, once she finished telling Cole she glances across the lounge and seems to look at Dr Crowe, saying ‘You’ve got an hour’, as if to say to Dr Crowe that he has an hour to talk to Cole. This again leads the audience on to believe that Dr Crowe is alive when in fact; Cole’s mother is just looking across the room. The director has used a simple glance to make the audience believe that Dr Crowe is there and alive.

As Cole’s mother leaves the room, the camera shot changes to a long shot, in which you see Cole’s mother leave the room. This invites Dr Crowe to talk to Cole and makes the audience hang on to whether Cole will stay and talk to Dr Crowe about his problems and feelings, which will then make the audience learn more about Cole’s position in life hence the ‘hidden’ suspense that the audience is unaware of having at the time and also if Cole will walk away which also links to the ‘hidden’ suspense.

When Cole and Dr Crowe start having a conversation, Dr Crowe is keen on finding out more on Cole’s problem. A way in which he tried was a game by asking questions, if Dr Crowe was right, Cole would move forward and visa-versa. When Dr Crowe asks Cole the questions, he asks them as if he already knows the answer, with a touch of arrogance. As he gets the first few right it starts to lead the audience on to thinking that Dr Crowe may be a sprit because he is able to read Cole’s thoughts when he only knows a little bit of information on Cole’s problem.

But Dr Crowe starts to get some questions wrong and the doubt that started to build within the audiences’ thoughts start to recede. The way in which the camera shots are used then makes the audience ponder whether Dr Crowe could be alive or not. When Dr Crowe asks Cole the questions, the cameras cross cuts from Cole’s face, to his feet, then to Dr Crowe’s face. When you see Cole start to move backwards the facial expression on Dr Crowe’s face shows that he is failing and then the audience then begins to re-believe Dr Crowe is alive.

The directors use of these type of camera shots and facial expressions makes the audience want to continuing watching to find out if Dr Crowe is alive. The way is which the director makes you think Dr Crowe is alive then isn’t is a sneaky way of building the dramatic irony in the scene making the audience want to watch on further. In scene 6 the main use of camera shot is again, long shot, but this time the zooming comes into place. The director uses these different aspects to make the audience believe that Dr Crowe is alive.

When the scene begins, we see Dr Crowe’s wife sitting in a posh restaurant on her own. We can feel the intensity about to happen because of the atmosphere of the restaurant and the body language of Dr Crowe’s wife. Dr Crowe arrives in a rushed panic and jokes to her ‘I thought you meant the other Italian restaurant I asked you to marry me in’ but he gets a empty reaction from his wife, making the audience believe she is angry with him. Dr Crowe then takes a seat, and as he does the camera slowly zooms round from over his wife’s shoulder to a medium shot of them both.

This then creates the tension between the two characters, but Dr Crowe’s wife doesn’t know of this tension that is created. This is how the director has miss-lead the audience into believing Dr Crowe is alive. Dr Crowe is talking to her and it seems that they are clearly communicating with each other, he is telling her of his problems and she’s listening but with a attitude towards him, for his lateness. This gives us another sign that Dr Crowe is alive but the director’s manipulation has tricked the audience into thinking that Dr Crowe’s wife is listening to him, when in fact, she is completely unaware he is present.

The camera then pans down to the table as the waiter places the bill for the meal. The camera then turns to a close up of Dr Crowe and his wife’s hands, both reaching for the bill but she picks it up before Dr Crowe can. As she compiles her method of paying, Dr Crowe says ‘I just can’t keep track of time’, which is giving the audience a hint that Dr Crowe isn’t actually alive but because the audience assumes that Dr Crowe’s wife has been waiting for him because she’s paying the bill, the audience totally misses the hint of Dr Crowe being alive or not.

The director deliberately makes Dr Crowe say his line after his wife has picked up the bill because the audience is then thinking that she is annoyed with him, missing the hint that Dr Crowe has just said. This is how the director misleads the audience there. When she has finished paying for the bill the camera tracks up to her face and gives the audience a medium shot, over the shoulder of Dr Crowe. She then says ‘Happy Anniversary’ while looking into Dr Crowe’s seat. This makes the audience think that Dr Crowe is there because it seems as if she has directed her cold words onto Dr Crowe.

Also she is choosing to ‘ignore’ him by not listening to what he is saying. The director does this to show the audience that she is annoyed with him but in fact she doesn’t even know that he is there. The director has manipulated her feelings of sadness and sorrow into anger to portray the fact that Dr Crowe is alive. At the end of the film the director repeats the beginning scenes from when Dr Crowe is murdered. Dr Crowe realises that he is one of the ghosts that Cole had been seeing.

This because of the repetition that he is experiencing at the end of the film. The director does this because it makes the audience realise that Dr Crowe was a ghost all along and that they think back on all the clues that the director left for them to pick up on. In conclusion I feel that the director has successfully and easily mislead the audience into thinking that Dr Crowe was alive. He left clues for the audience to pick up on but hid them with clever manipulation of camera angles and shots and the way the actors played their characters.

In scene 5 he made it obvious to the audience that Dr Crowe was alive because of the way he set Dr Crowe and Cole’s mother out at the beginning. Also when Cole’s mother looks at Dr Crowe at the end of her conversation with Cole was a brilliant way of misguiding the audience into thinking she was talking to him and that he was alive. In scene 6 the way the director moves the camera angles makes you think that Dr Crowe’s wife is annoyed with him, when actually she isn’t aware that he’s there.

When she says ‘Happy Anniversary’ it makes the audience believe it’s a sly dig at Dr Crowe’s late showing and the quick glance makes the audience believe that Dr Crowe is alive. What I find striking is that you only ever see Cole talking back to Dr Crowe. He is the only character in the whole movie to talk to Dr Crowe directly and Cole is the only one to listen and respond to his comments. The director hides this extremely well into fooling the audience and is a brilliant way of making the film a truly great watch.

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