Six Ways To Sunday
dir. by Adam Bernstein
starring Deborah Harry, Norman Reedus
Most men would love to have Deborah Harry give them a bath. Unfortunately for Harry Odum, the main character in Six Ways to Sunday , Debbie Harry is his mother. The sight of Debbie’s character, Kate Odum, bathing her full-grown son, is the unsettling start of director Adam Bernstein’s film. The overbearing Kate Odum never lets her son forget all she did to raise him after his father ran out. Eighteen years old and having no sexual experience, Harry is caught by his mother reading a book about sex. Determined that she will never share her son with another woman, Kate sends confusing messages about sex to Harry. If life isn’t bad enough, working odd jobs at a burger joint is his current employment.
Arnie is Harry’s childhood friend, who happens to be involved with the Jewish mob. The shy Harry decides to go with his friend to collect money from the proprietor of a strip joint, wanting to see what it is like in the club. After Arnie roughs up the club owner, something snaps in Harry’s head and he continues the pounding, going wild on the man, almost beating him to death.
Always having an eye for talent, mob lieutenant Abie Pinkwise recruits Harry into the mob. His first test will be after he is arrested getting rid of a car used in a mob hit. When he refuses to talk after a severe police beating, Harry is now considered a trusted and valuable asset.
Louis Varga is the kingpin of this crime organization. Harry finds himself strangely attracted to Varga’s maid, Iris. This is when Madden appears. Madden is Harry’s dark alter ego. His appearance makes a relationship with Iris possible.
Since being a mob assassin has been lucrative for Harry, he decides to buy a home for himself and his mother. Although Harry is dressing better and has the appearance of a better life, the mob is taking its toll. A hit gone bad leaves the man who brought him into the mob, Abie Pinkwise, a drunken basket case. His childhood friend Arnie was the driver for the botched job. He not only leaves Harry and Abie stranded at the scene of the crime, but talks to the police when arrested.
Now Harry is being forced to kill his friends. Arnie must be punished for his actions. When Abie is too far gone to do the job, Harry is forced to take care of Arnie, and is asked to get rid of Abie as well. Between the killings, his psychotic mother and his own confused emotions about his girlfriend, Harry is a time bomb waiting to explode.
Six Ways To Sunday is an extremely dark and disturbing comedy. In the vein of a modern day Psycho , it’s layered with relationships gone bad to the extreme. It’s easy to see Norman Reedus, who plays Harry Odum (and is a former Prada model) as a contemporary Norman Bates. Deborah Harry does a remarkable job with the character of Kate Odum, the domineering and demented mother.
Director Adam Bernstein hit the nail on the head with his choice to have the film take place in the very bleak Youngstown, Ohio. You can sense the despair an average person would have in this environment, never mind the extremely dysfunctional Odum family. The film is shot very simply, which adds to the look.
At times this film was shocking and somewhat difficult to stomach, but its unconventional nature, combined with superb performances, definitely merit attention.