By Kathleen McInnis

Reviewed out of the 2009 Telluride Film Festival:

 

My Son, My Son What Have Ye Done?

New rule of cinema—David Lynch and Werner Herzog are no longer allowed to hang out with each other. According to Herzog, as he introduced one of his two films playing at Telluride, he and Lynch were bemoaning the difficulties of artistic creation in the face of film financing when Herzog said “I’ve got a script I could shoot tomorrow if it wasn’t for money” and Lynch said “how much would it cost?” and Herzog said “I could do it for 2 million” and (in the grand Mickey Rooney tradition) a movie was born. Unfortunately, the movie is My Son, My Son What Have Ye Done? Based on a true story (no, seriously) about a man who kills his mother while enacting  Sophocles’ play, “Orestes”, in his head (really, I can’t make this stuff up). There are brilliant moments—William Defoe as an FBI agent who looks like he wandered into the wrong film, Brad Dourif as a deranged, far-right-extremist ostrich farmer, and the often-disturbing-but-always-fascinating Udo Kier giving a discourse on Greek tragedy. But the problem is one has to stay awake during the film to see them which is nearly impossible. Granted, there are enough Lynchian moments (including a midget-and yes I know that’s incorrect but when talking about little people in a Lynch movie I believe “midget” is appropriate) to warrant a “My Son My Son” drinking game, there isn’t much more to warrant paying for a ticket. Although if you do, it’s likely you’ll end up in a very exclusive, very small club: people who paid to see My Son, My Son in a movie theater, sober.

 

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