Movie review: My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done is a perfect storm of eccentricity. It's directed by Werner Herzog (most recently of the not-really remake of Bad Lieutenant) and produced by David Lynch, a man not likely to chide a filmmaker for not making sense.

This would make for a hell of a DVD commentary track.

The loosey-goosey plot centers around a homicide detective (Willem Dafoe) investigating what appears to be the routine sword slaying of a San Diego woman. The suspect is the victim's son, Brad (Michael Shannon), who's holed up in a nearby home. The events that led Brad there are recalled in flashback, as told by those who were close to him.

We also learn a bit about ostrich farming, discover God on a box of instant oats and ponder the profundity of an abandoned basketball.

My Son, My Son has an odd and awkward rhythm, with bursts of creepy tension and unbridled silliness. As Dafoe's detective wryly understates, "It's all a little confusing." With a director like Herzog at the helm and Lynch not applying any brakes, the film is certainly indulgent, occasionally incoherent and often hilarious. It's a head-scratcher, but in a good way. Mostly.

How much you enjoy it will depend on your tolerance for absurdity.

"My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done"

Opens Friday at the Gateway Film Center

Grade: B-