The film is based on the 1979 murder by Mark Yavorsky of his mother. I only vaguely remember this San Diego case, so I did a quick 'google' on Yavorsky, and easily found some background that made this movie much richer for me. It really is a bit of a Greek tragedy, as Yavorsky clearly was a very talented young man (basketball star, poet, writer, actor) who slowly descended into acute psychosis -- which, apparently, no one did very much about. And he really was playing Orestes (Greek for, 'a man who can conquer mountains,' a fact subtly used in the movie) in a USD production. And Orestes, of course, is best known for ... murdering his mother.
It's not that the movie doesn't tell Yavorsky's story well -- I think Herzog did as well as anyone could; it's just that I think I 'got' some of the nuance a bit better after reading some of the old news articles out there. Also interesting, I thought, is that the screenwriter, Herbert Golder, actually interviewed Yavorsky a few times. (Yavorsky was found innocent by reason of insanity, probably the right call, and served many years in a mental health facility).
David Lynch produced the movie, but this is not a "Lynch" movie, as he never set foot on the set nor contributed to the script. This time, the midget and pink flamingos belong wholly to Werner Herzog.
The acting and production values are great, as one would expect. All in all, a very good film, and highly recommended.