USA - 1997

Movie Review By Andrea Chase

The way the film "Sunday" begins, you might be tempted to think that things couldn't possibly get worse for Oliver as he wakes up to another day living in a Queens new York homeless shelter. You'd be sadly mistaken.

The film begins by painstakingly tracing the bleakness of his morning routine, and his complete inability to cope with either the environment or the other inhabitants of the shelter. Fortunately for him, and for us, the rules of the house force him onto the streets from just after breakfast until the 10 PM curfew. He wanders aimlessly until a woman carrying an oversized philodendron hails him from across a deserted street. Well, not him, exactly, but a famous film director for whom she's mistaken him. Before he has a chance to convince himself that he ought to set this lovely warm woman straight, she's whisked him to a diner and then to her home. And here the fun begins. Is she mistaken, or is she perfectly aware that the befuddled shlub sitting in her living room is a perfect stranger? And if so, are her motives less that pure in luring him hither?

David Suchet, best known for playing Hercule Poirot, takes a 180-degree turn with Oliver, a sad little man for whom life has been thrown permanently out of kilter. As his serendipitous paramour, or is it nemesis, Lisa Harrow is alternately creepy and charming yet always completely believable as she makes hairpin turns from one persona to another.

The story abounds in uncertainty. Who's really who and what? There's also an element of danger thrown in. The danger, though, is presented as fascinating as well as threatening. The relentless bleakness of these characters' lives makes danger a welcome alternative to their daily round of boredom and despair. Even tender moments have a nervous edge to them.

As for "Sunday's" ending, some may find it infuriating. It's odd and yet, given the build up, completely consistent. Like it or hate it, though, you will be thinking about it long after the final credits roll.

© 1997 Andrea Chase Air Date: 9/17/97

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