Reviews: "44 Inch Chest" and "My Son, My Son"

  • Article by: COLIN COVERT , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 25, 2010 - 3:06 PM

A British revenge dramedy and a strange offering from David Lynch.

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Grace Zabriskie, Michael Shannon and Chlo� Sevigny in "My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done."

Photo: Kinowelt, Star Tribune

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44 INCH CHEST

★★ out of four stars

Rating: R for strong language and some violence.

Theater: Lagoon.

So there's this bloke, Ray Winstone. Tough geezer. Fists like hams. A hard man, but soft-hearted about the missus. So when she begs to inform that she's been 'avin' a bit of a slap and tickle with a Frog waiter at some posh nosh, blimey, Ray goes all pear-shaped. Boo-hooing like a tot. 'E knocks the name out of her and rings up his old mates, a right collection of villains. Ian McShane, John Hurt, Tom Wilkinson, Stephen Dillane, leg-breakers all.

And these hooligans toss Pierre in an armoire -- there's your "44 Inch Chest," I reckon -- and wait for Ray to make good riddance of 'im. Egg 'im on, in fact, like they was cheerin' for Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League finals. But Ray is too knackered to do 'im right away, so 'e makes Young Dan Cupid wait. Building the suspense, like. And Ray carries on like Prince 'Amlet 'imself. Shall I kill you or shall I not, says the man betrayed. Maybe I should cut off your baguette, but maybe I won't. And while Ray's workin' 'imself up, and talkin' 'imself down, the other lads are 'urtin' their thumbs from twiddlin'. It goes on for a bloody eternity. It's like watchin' a rich tosser playin' roulette with a tower of chips, losing more and more, spin after spin.

After a while you can see why the wayward wife moved on to fresher prospects. Our man Ray is all talk, no bloody action.

COLIN COVERT

MY SON, MY SON, WHAT HAVE YE DONE?

★ out of four stars

Unrated.

Theater: St. Anthony Main.

As you might expect, a cop movie produced by David Lynch and directed by Werner Herzog is a very strange brew indeed. Willem Dafoe plays a clean-cut San Diego homicide detective called to a mysterious killing (old lady run through with a Civil War-era cavalry sword).

The killer (no spoiler, guys, it's Michael Shannon) begins taunting the cops from the house across the street, threatening to kill his hostages unless they meet his demands. Since he believes that God lives in oatmeal canisters and communicates through boom boxes, he's not the easiest perp to reason with.

Lynch and Herzog have tickled us for years with their dwarves and iguanas and impenetrable stories. This collaboration represents the vanishing point of willful obscurity.

Even at 70 minutes, the film drags unconscionably as it drifts in and out of fantasy, madness and really bad Greek theater. The mystery here is why this undigested mess of symbolism, psychosis and silliness was ever funded.

COLIN COVERT

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