With filmmaker Werner Herzog ("Fitzcarraldo," "Grizzly Man," "Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans") at the helm and David Lynch as an executive producer, it's no surprise that "My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done" is such an eccentric, often dreamlike concoction. What is unexpected, however, is that the film manages to be flat and uninteresting, despite the juicy (or, at the very least, lurid) true story from 1979 that serves as this curio's inspiration.
Michael Shannon, whose tedious performance here is a far cry from his Oscar-nominated turn in last year's " Revolutionary Road," stars as Brad, a disturbed, would-be actor who goes full-on batty after rehearsing the lead in a stage production of the Greek tragedy "Orestes," in which the title character kills his mother with a sword. Life unconvincingly imitates art as Brad replays the murder scene for real with his doting mother (Grace Zabriskie), then holes up in his home with two hostages as cops ( Willem Dafoe, Michael Peña) oversee the crime scene.
Brad's seemingly sensible fiancée (truly, what's she doing with this psycho?), played by Chloë Sevigny, and Brad's "Orestes" director (Udo Kier, a little of whom goes a long way here) tell the cops about Brad's recent life through a series of flashbacks that take us as far as Peru but offer little meaningful method to his madness.