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My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done?
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I have spent years singing Werner Herzog's praises every time I see one of his movies. I think the last of his movies I have less than an enthusiastic review to was The Mystery of Kaspar Hauser, and I saw that, what, ten years ago? (Actually, I looked it up--eight years ago, in August of 2005.) Man, I even defended, and strongly, Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans. But every streak must come to an end, and the architect of this one's demise is the 2009 film My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done?. (For the record: over the past ten years, I have seen nine Herzog films. This is the first to which I have given a below-average review.)
Supposedly based on a true story, the film tells us the tale of Brad Macallam (Michael Shannon, who like most of the cast stayed on with Herzog after BL:PoCNO wrapped to make this one), a man who seems to have gone insane during a recent trip to South America, and who just killed his mother (Twin Peaks' Grace Zabriskie) with a sword, taking the whole Stanislavsky thing a little too far (he's playing Orestes in a community-theater play). The bulk of the film is told in flashback, as detectives Havenhurst (Antichrist's Willem Dafoe) and Vargas (End of Watch's Michael Pena) try to piece together the events leading up to the murder by interviewing neighbors and tracking Brad, who left the scene before anyone realized he was the perp.Read more ›
"Blue Velvet captured something crucial about the way the U.S. present acted upon our nerve endings, something crucial that couldn't be analyzed or reduced to a system of codes or aesthetic principles or workshop techniques. The movie helped me realize that first-rate experimentalism is a way not to 'transcend' or 'rebel against' the truth but actually to *honor* it. It brought home that the very most important artistic communications take place at a level that not only isn't intellectual but isn't even fully conscious, that the unconscious's true medium isn't verbal but imagistic, and that whether the images are Realistic or Postmodern or Expressionistic or Surreal or what-the-hell-ever is less important than whether they feel true, whether they ring psychic cherries in the communicatee."
The important question is whether it succeeds at ringing psychic cherries. I can't speak for you, but for me the scene (beginning around the 20th minute) where Ingrid is trying to "straighten" the bed, and Brad comes and sits on it and wants to play music for her, and the mom barges in with brownies, "I'm just so happy for you both. ... Brad, can't you see that Ingrid is trying to straighten the bed?", the momentary look back before she leaves, "can't she ever knock?", and then she barges in again a few moments later, this time with wine, and then the prolonged, eerily-adoring stare--hoo boy that was one of the creepiest and realest and most magical scenes I've seen.
You cannot watch this as a normal movie, expecting clear answers, logic, or even linearity.Read more ›
Herzog's direction is flawless, and cameraman Peter Zeitlinger does his usual sparkling cinematography by making blasé San Diego seem feral.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This may be a true story but it wasn't worth making a movie about.The previews were the best part of this movie. Don't waste your time or money. You will be glad you didn't.Published 1 month ago by The Daddy
A bit slow but thank you Werner. I'm a huge fan ! I've dreamed of working with you for decades.Published 7 months ago by Claude D. Cobert
I am a big Herzog fan which is why I bought this DVD. But as a career inner-city emergency medicine physician, in my line of work guys who have psychotic breaks then kill their... Read morePublished 11 months ago by Three Dog Truck
Disappointing. Not great. An intriguing story but not edited or directed that well.Published 20 months ago by Sara
OK not to happy with this movie, took to olongto get to the plot.. (WAS THER ONE) Who knows I fell asleep 3 times watching it!Published on July 3, 2013 by Anthony
The problem with Werner Herzog since he moved to the US is that he has tried to adapt to standard story telling film making after a long absence from anything like it (Berg's play... Read morePublished on April 5, 2013 by Carlos Icaza Estrada