Synopsis: 18-year-old Harry, who lives with his overprotective and controlling mother, stumbles into an opportunity to work for a Jewish crime boss as a hitman and enforcer. While the violent nature of his new career causes his mental health to deteriorate, he makes enough money to finally become independent of his mother, only to find out she’s not that easy to convince.
Movie Review: Six Ways to Sunday (1997)
A review of the dark comedy starring Norman Reedus and Adrien Brodie.
My wife is a big Norman Reedus fan and, when I saw this film on one of our movie channels a couple nights ago, I decided to record it so we could watch it together. We did that last night and I have to say the movie surprised me.
I don’t use the word “freakishly” very often. So, when I describe this movie as freakishly bizarre, it should mean something. At first, I wasn’t sure if I had made a mistake watching it. But, as the movie progressed, I had to admit it was entertaining.
Reedus, for his part, does a pretty decent job as Harry. Throughout the majority of the film, his character was shy and soft spoken. This, I think, worked really well because it made the extreme violence he was capable of surprising, especially the first time he snapped. As the movie progresses and he gains more confidence, you can also tell there’s a bit of an insane side to him that only gets stronger each time he kills someone.
The part with his mom (Harry) really stood out the most for me though. The movie establishes the fact she is a control freak early on, with her insisting on giving her grown son a bath and even controlling when he is allowed to read by rigging the lamp in his room so she can turn it off from a different part of the house. This, much like his own insanity, only gets exaggerated as the movie progresses (especially when they move into a new house).
The fact there is also some obvious sexual tension between the two was both interesting and disturbing at the same time. And, this only got more intense after he finds a girlfriend (Lowensohn), making his mother jealous.
My only real complaint about this film relates to Harry’s alter ego Madden (Graham). Even though the movie does try to disguise this early on, it wasn’t too hard to figure out he was imaginary and symbolized a split personality. However, the film never really explains this in depth. Was Madden a new occurrence, caused by Harry’s recent violence streak? Or, was he something that Harry had been living with his whole life? I think, if the writers would have taken the time to given a little more depth to that part of the plot, it would have given us a better understanding of Reedus’ character.
As I said, this is a movie that can only really be described as bizarre. However, once it gets going, it’s also a film that is hard to stop watching once you start and we did enjoy the film as a result.
My Grade: B
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