A retired Goth Rock star (Sean Penn) living in Ireland learns that his father is dying and travels back to America. He's too late for the funeral, but he learns that his father was in Auschwitz - and that the man who persecuted him there may still be alive...
Contains examples of:
- Afraid of Needles: Snorting heroin? No problem. Shooting it? Hell no!
- And Then What?: Cheyenne's hunt for the Nazi war criminal is derailed by the question: And what are you going to do when you find him?
- As Himself: David Byrne.
- Best Served Cold: Cheyenne's revenge mission is this, literally.
- Broken Bird: Cheyenne, who blames himself for the suicides of two of his fans.
- Contemplate Our Navels: A defining trait of Cheyenne's dialogue, with many of his lines coming across as an oddly passive aggressive Ice-Cream Koan.
- Deadpan Snarker: Cheyenne. He's more soft-spoken than most, but just as snarky.
- Fish out of Water: Cheyenne, just about everywhere he goes, and the source of most of the comedy in the film.
- Freudian Excuse: Cheyenne and his father haven't spoken in thirty years, and Cheyenne is convinced that his father did not love him. This is ultimately subverted. His father loved him regardless.
- Goth: Cheyenne, of the Gloomy variety.
- I Have No Son: Cheyenne's father responded this way when, at age 15, Cheyenne started wearing make-up and being a Goth. Subverted. Cheyenne only realises that his father still loved him regardless after his father's death.
- Manchild: Many people point out that Cheyenne is one, and he does certainly come across that way.
- Nazi Hunter: The main character seeks to become one.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Cheyenne is basically Robert Smith if he hunted Nazis.
- Refuge in Audacity: The film is practically made of this trope.
- Significant Wardrobe Shift: At the end of the film, Cheyenne appears without his dark / rocker appearance, instead with his hair cut short and wearing a track jacket.
- Titled After the Song: The title derives from a Talking Heads song, which is performed twice in the film, once by Cheyenne and once by David Byrne.