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Film critics like to be surprised, which comes from being unsurprised too many times. This critic, however, has become tired of “The Sixth Sense” school of script writing, enamored as it is of that 1999 hit’s sleight-of-hand ending. But while a good magician can fool the eye in dozens of ways, a scriptwriter can create only one big trick called the plot — and as script-writing teachers never tire of repeating, nearly all can be boiled down to a handful of patterns. The hero wins, the hero loses — the hero turns out to be a ghost. How many variations can you try on that last trick (the hero turns out to be an alien?) before the audiences see it coming a mile off.

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