DIRECTED BY: Werner Herzog
FEATURING: Michael Shannon, Willem Dafoe, Grace Zabriskie, Chloë Sevigny, Udo Kier, Brad Dourif
PLOT: The story of a young man’s mental breakdown is told in flashbacks as friends and family are interviewed by a detective outside the home where the killer is holed up with a couple of hostages.
WHY IT WON’T MAKE THE LIST: It’s twice as weird as Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, Werner Herzog’s other 2009 offering, but only half as entertaining.
COMMENTS: No movie in the world that could live up to the promise of the credit, “David Lynch Presents a Werner Herzog Film.” My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done is among those movies. Based on a real-life case with the details changed drastically, the film begins with a gruesome murder then proceeds to explain the mystery through flashbacks and trips inside the diseased mind of the killer. The main problem with the movie is that the answer we get for the slayer’s motivation amounts to little more than “because he’s nuts.” There’s a top-notch weird cast here, but the performances are uneven. With his intense eyes under a lowering brow and odd non-sequiturs, Michael Shannon (last seen ’round these parts as the paranoid insectophobe in Bug) is credibly crazed. In fact, Shannon’s been acting so off-kilter since returning from a kayaking trip to Peru that fiancée Chloë Sevigny and pal Udo Kier don’t appear at all shocked to find themselves being interviewed by homicide detective Willem Dafoe outside the flamingo-pink home where the madman has holed up with two hostages. Kier, who’s just replaced Shannon in his avant-garde production of the Oresteia because the actor was getting too excitable when asked to play the scene where he murders his mother, is more an outside observer of the man’s madness than a participant, so his cool, politely dismayed reaction to the tragedy is understandable and even a little amusing. On the other hand, it’s hard to figure out why Sevigny is going full steam ahead with honeymoon plans after Shannon tells her he sees Continue reading CAPSULE: MY SON, MY SON, WHAT HAVE YE DONE (2009)