Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done? (15)

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The Independent Culture

The irrepressible Werner Herzog continues to plough his peculiar furrow, though this latest is rather a comedown after the mesmerising Bad Lieutenant.

A San Diego cop (Willem Dafoe) arrives at a quiet residential address to investigate the murder of an elderly woman, run through by a sword. Meanwhile, the chief suspect, Brad (Michael Shannon), has barricaded himself in a house across the road. He is the dead woman's son, and from the testimony of his girlfriend (Chloë Sevigny) we learn in flashback of his increasingly erratic and disturbing behaviour. (He believes he has "seen God", for one thing). The ungainly shift between present and past, the muted playing, bizarre incidental music and sudden lurches into foreign location work bear the hallmarks of Herzogian oddity, but offer little in terms of pleasure or plausibility. It also looks like it was shot through a dirty dishcloth.