MALCOLM: Cole, have you ever heard of something called free-writing? Or free-association writing?
Cole shakes his head, "No."
MALCOLM: It's when you put a pencil in your hand and put the pencil to a paper and you just start writing... You don't think about what you're writing... You don't read over what you're writing... You just keep your hand moving.
Cole has become very still. He looks right at Malcolm.
MALCOLM: After awhile if you keep your hand moving long enough, words and thoughts start coming out you didn't even know you had in you... Sometimes they're things you heard from somewhere... Sometimes they're feelings deep inside... (beat) Have you ever done any free- association writing, Cole?
Beat. Cole nods, "Yes."
MALCOLM: What'd you write?
MALCOLM: What kind of words?
COLE: Upset words.
MALCOLM: Did you ever write any upset words before your father left?
COLE: I don't remember.
The Sixth Sense is one of the movies I truly appreciate for its stellar direction and thoughtful screenplay. My favorite scene is whose dialog is above. For a number of reasons. Mostly because of the inserted cut that is used to provide Cole's mum's (Lynn's) perspective while Malcolm (Bruce Willis) explains to Cole what free writing means in voice-over. The camera slowly moves around Cole's bedroom, a technique known as "long take", and eventually stumbles upon some free-association work of Cole's. The camera then abruptly zooms in twice, known as a "quick cut", on Cole's writing. We are able to read what Cole has written. The horror at that moment is flabbergasting.
The irony is that Malcolm couldn't have possibly known about Cole's free association writing habit unless Cole's mum Lynn had told Malcolm about it. But we find out only at the end of the movie that Lynn couldn't have possibly spoken with Malcolm. We are then led to wonder how Malcolm knows all the things he does. Especially how he knows that Cole left some of his work lying around only so that his mum would find it while cleaning his room. I find this scene to be the most disturbing sequence in the film. This is really an amazing piece of direction.
I've been doing a lot of free association writing ever since I watched this movie. I don't publish any of them (except this one time) for obvious reasons, but today I feel like publishing one of my many samples. The only difference is that instead of using pencil and paper, I use my keyboard and laptop.
today is the big day for all of us. today we stand on the shoulders of giants, peering into space, peering downwards at all the planets beneath us, at all the superficial traits and masters and slaves of the world. in this world, i can see, i see a beautiful nature, a wisdom unfathomed, beauty, thresholds. my pen starts to write, i see bountiful pleasures, pleasures i simply cannot describe, a beautiful city, all the beautiful men, all the beautiful people, nature, gardens, flowers. the lovely growth of our technology, our egos, ourselves, our ability to reflect, our superfluous vocabulary, our emotions, our hatred for all those we love, our monstrousness. it brings with it a selflessness never encountered thus far, a wholesome meal, a good square lunch, a full stomach.
today i feel like a joyce, tomorrow a sheldon, the day after a rowling. full of fantasies, full of hopes, full of false beliefs. and that is what which defines me.
welcome to my world. my very beautiful world.
MALCOLM: If you keep your hand moving long enough, words and thoughts start coming out you didn't even know you had in you... Sometimes they're things you heard from somewhere... Sometimes they're feelings deep inside...