There are a group of directors who have routinely been considered the best directors since the 1970's and we all know them. Coppola, Scorsese, Eastwood, and of course Spielberg.
The 80's had what I like to call the 2nd tier, maybe Scott (Ridley, not Tony), James Cameron, maybe Spike Lee. Though these directors are absolute great, there is a small group of directors who have made there name in a big way in the 90's and there is no doubt MNS is definitely in that group.
I think MNS gives the audience something that noone else provides and that is originality. No retreads coming from MNS and there has to be something said about that which separates him from his peers.
For what it is worth, my fave directors who made their name in the 90's, not in any particular order is...Tarantino, David Fincher & MNS. But I judge a director by the body of work that he has produced and in that respects, MNS has no peers. Tarantino, great director and he has that masterpiece Pulp Fiction to his credit. But his work, talented as he is, is not that much different from his previous work. Dogs, Fiction, Jackie Brown...all dealt with the criminal underworld.
David Fincher? Absolutely wonderfully nihilistic director. But Alien 3 was a sequel, Seven was a masterpiece, but there would not have been a Seven without Silence of the Lambs 5 years earlier. The Game was original, Fight Club was well made however not original, Hitchcock & DePalma tackled that same material. And Zodiac was about another serial killer and we all knew how that would end.
MNS is the ONLY director who treats us to originality EACH & EVERY TIME out and for that he is my fave director. When Sixth Sense came out my reaction was " Who is this guy and where did he come from?" Blew me away! Unbreakable, widely underrated, as has all his films since. My personal fave is probably Signs though. I think MNS has set the bar so high with his 1st film that he has received undue criticism. The level of talent attracted to his projects speaks for itself.
MNS is a GREAT storyteller like Spielberg, he frames suspense as good as Hitchcock, he can set up scares as good as Carpenter or Craven's best work. Jordan was put on earth to play basketball, Mozart to create music and Mr. Shyamalan was made to direct film. In 20 years, MNS will have a body of work that, in my opinion will rival the best directors of all time. Fan for Life.
Sorry about the length of the post, but when I start talking film.......