And then the ending happened, and forgive me for somewhat glossing over the film's good points, but just thinking about how thoroughly wasted all this greatness was just has the effect of getting me angry all over again.
First, I should make it clear that, having heard the "I see dead people" line, I knew mostly what the film was about (though perhaps this would only have delayed how obvious the "twist" became). So from the end of the first scene onward, I was simply proceeding, as I assumed I was meant to, with the knowledge that Dr. Crowe was dead. I kept waiting for the emotional "reveal" scene that would provide the impetus for the film's final act, but I never imagined that that scene would be the *ending*. I thought we would find out that (for instance) Crowe survived the shooting at the beginning, only to somehow have Cole (or Cole's absent father) cause his death later. I also want to know more about Cole. Does he ever stop seeing the ghosts? Does he grow up and get his own TV show? Does he eventually snap anyway and go on Vincent's homicidal rampage?
But no. Shyamalan was too busy being flashy and trying to get talked about to wrap up his beautiful story in any meaningful way. Is this what we have become as a society? Are movies really getting this dumbed down, so that we're at a point where we won't trust anything a director doesn't smash over our head? Fine, fine, I'll get back in my seat; this was nine years ago, after all. Nobody knew that M. Night was an arrogant hack. Now that we do, I think it's high time we got over this film, and just allow M. Night's career to begin its inevitable petering out.
For a film to be bad is one thing. This film is not that. For a film to make you feel angry and used, to the point that you wonder why you even bother watching movies anymore, is quite another. Then again, I suppose that's what I get for taking an M. Night Syamalan film seriously.