Friday, August 03, 2012

The Great Debate: The Sixth Sense vs. The Others


Welcome to The Great Debate, a feature that asks you to argue for or against one of two opposing film-related elements.  You will make your case for why you think one element is better than the other.  Please note that this week’s debate contains spoilers, so if you have not seen either film you may want to do so first.  Let the debate begin!

Best twist ending 

 The Sixth Sense – Bruce Willis has been dead all along

I know some who weren’t fooled at all by the twist at the end of M. Night Shyalaman’s The Sixth Sense, but I was.  Though Haley Joel Osment’s character revealed that he could “see dead people,” it wasn’t obvious to me that he was seeing a dead man in Bruce Willis’ character during every one of their onscreen interactions.  I thought Willis was alive and well, and though Shyamalan sprinkles clues aplenty throughout the film (namely the marital dinner scene), I was totally fooled the first time I saw the film.  


The Others – Nicole Kidman and her children have been dead all along

Following The Sixth Sense, Nicole Kidman starred in a film about a woman (Grace) and her two children who live in a mansion and suspect that it may be haunted by ghosts.  The house is indeed haunted, but by them!  Stricken with grief for her missing husband and driven insane from living in isolation, Grace smothered her children with a pillow, then upon realizing what she’d done, killed herself.  When another ghost inhabiting the house informs Grace of what is really going on, Grace is stunned.  I was less surprised by the film’s big reveal because I suspected that they were all dead about half way through.  


My argument is for The Sixth Sense largely because I feel that M. Night Shyalaman effectively preserves his twist by establishing, executing and sustaining metaphysical rules better than that of Alejandro Amenabar in The Others.  Amenabar so effectively establishes simple enigmatic suspense at the beginning of the film without employing big effects, but the story becomes muddled with the introduction of too many extra characters in the second half and the film becomes a little confusing, thus resulting in a lack of coherence which I believe ultimately compromises the mystery.  Plus, I became rather impatient by the film’s end which began to feel rather drawn out. In contrast, Shyalaman’s storytelling somehow carried me past the obvious red herrings that in hindsight were in plain view enough to blindside me at the end.


15 comments:

  1. I am going with Amenabar on this one. Shyamalan does a great job setting up the clues throughout, but I find that The Others works so much better upon subsequent viewings. I loved the whole notion of spirits being spooked by humans which is an angle not too many filmmakers take. Plus, I find that The Others does a far better job of juggling the other characters in the film than The Sixth Sense does. Everything in The Others from the creepy house staff, the kids’ light sensitive condition, and the arc with the Kidman’s husband just worked for me.

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    1. Interesting point about subsequent viewings. I've only seen 'The Others' once, so I'd be interested to see how I feel about the film after watching it again. I may have to borrow it from you do to just that.

      The eeriness created by the cinematography in 'The Others' is quite effective, but I felt that it didn't quite carry through the entire film for me. I grew weary in the second half.

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  2. I think there would be no The Others without The Sixth Sense, but I like the Others a bit more, it was much more atmospheric and creepy though Sixth Sense is a great film.

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    1. I'm with you - there does appear to be some influence from the 'The Sixth Sense' in the 'The Others.' I agree that the 'The Others' does a great job of creating suspense through atmosphere, and I found that particularly effective in the first half, but somehow it didn't quite hold up as the movie neared its conclusion. I liked the first half of 'The Others' far more than I did the second half when it kind of lost me.

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  3. On the whole I felt Sixth Sense was the far superior film, but as far as the twist itself, I felt that The Others' was executed a little better. Just as you're terrified that they're being attacked by some crazy old lady ghost, you see the jarring image of the seance and everything clicks.

    - Tippi

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    1. The twist in the 'The Sixth Sense' was far more surprising to me. I was taken aback by it when I first saw the film. Half way through 'The Others,' I found myself thinking, "they're probably all dead," and when that was in fact the outcome, I was a little disappointed because there was no surprise for me at the end.

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  4. I like both movies and didn't see either twist coming. I give the slight edge to The Othets because I was truly creeped out by the entire thing. It 's about a lot more than the twist ending.

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    1. I agree that 'The Others' employs so much more than just scary things leaping out at the characters or crazy killers lurking about - the director creates real suspense through the film's cinematography and through simple imagery and so I'd agree that it's about more than the twist ending, but I found I enjoyed the first half of the film better, figured out the twist and was not as entertained by the second half of the film.

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  5. The Others. Although I'm not judging the twist specifically, I feel it rises about THE SIXTH SENSE because it's about so much more than the twist. Or it works as so much more. And of course Nicole is so fantastic.

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    1. The cinematography, set direction and the tone and mood of the film is very well done in 'The Others,' but I give the 'The Sixth Sense' a leg-up in overall storytelling and entertainment value. I agree that Nicole Kidman was superb in the film. Her performance is probably what I liked most about the film.

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  6. i haven't seen THE OTHERS but i was under the impression that THE OTHERS was only made because of the success of THE SIXTH SENSE. no?

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    1. That I don't know for sure, but I did detect some influence from 'The Sixth Sense' in 'The Others.'

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  7. Good topic!

    I've always thought The Others was just a rip-off of sorts of The Sixth Sense, so I'm going to have to go with the latter.

    I tried to watch The Others again for the first time in years, and I couldn't really get into it. I guess I'm not meant to like it.

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    1. Thanks - I'm glad you like the this week's debate.

      There are similarities between both films for sure and once I saw both films, I found it hard to think of one and not the other.

      I've only seen 'The Others' once myself, so it would be interested to see how I feel about the film after a second viewing. Some films we're definitely not meant to like even if we give them a second chance.

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  8. Anonymous6:47 am

    umm i wouldn't call 'the others'- 'the sixth sense' rip off, even though after watching it 'the sixth sense' was the first thing that came to mind. it's the same idea but not a rip off, its a great movie, and i think that a rip off usually can't stand on its own while 'the others' can and with flying marks! umm i don't know where the 2 scripts were taken from, maybe the writer of the script of 'the others' was influenced by 'the sixth sense' but as i said, he did a GREAT job anyway, and like ppl said here, the clues were much better and possible to see before the end, and nicole kidman did a spectacular job acting and great directing, and all the cast was amazing, ofcourse so was 'the sixth sense' and maybe it is a better movie but that doesn't matter, it depends on every individual's taste, u can't say: this is better in stuff like movies, u can say: *i* like this one better. and i loved both, bruce willis also gave an amazing performance and the little kid there was unforgettable *literally* :) ppl r reminded by his performance in the sixth sense all the time its become a cliche "i see dead ppl"... so maybe 'the 6th sense' is way better in my eyes too, but again it doesn't matter, casue both are fantastic, and again, nicole was unforgettable. so my summery is: 'the others' is based on the sixth sense idea but definitely not a 'rip off', it brings new ideas to light and is a great movie on its own with great acting and directing.

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