Friday, 2 September 2011

Faces come out of the Rain

My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done is a deliciously strange feature from Werner Herzog. Based on a true story the film reveals, mostly in flashback, the story of a Peru-damaged wanna be actor who slaughters his Ma with a samurai sword. This quiet, odd little film succeeds solely on the richness of the performances Herzog coaxes from his players including Willem Dafoe's flippant detective, Dourif's racist giant chicken breeder and the stunning, fragile malevolence of Michael Shannon trammelled, unhinged killer. Though some might find it a touch affected, I was glued to the screen and it demonstrates what potent actors and skillful direction can bring to simple stories. As much as I enjoy Herzog's documentaries I can't wait for his next narrative.

The inspired casting of Mel Gibson as the deranged lead lends an extra weight to The Beaver, the story of a depressed exec who turns his life around with the help of a glove puppet he finds in the bin. Shockingly for a fairly formulaic journey of discovery pic it's actually quite a decent watch, Gibson puts in a fine performance as the doe-eyed sadsack and his consistent, Ray Winston-ish accented alter ego is surprisingly competent. Jodie Foster plays the long-suffering wife with aplomb but is overshadowed by her excellent direction; for such a curious, quirky tale there's been plenty of effort staging, scripting and shooting the film . Dunno maybe my faculties had been impaired, as I did watch it towards the end of a bottle of wine, but I really enjoyed it. A weird suburban tale of sanity/madness and the family unit.

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