My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done

Rated NR 93 minutes 2009

Werner Herzog decided that a video camera, a few famous people and some free time = a movie, so he made My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done. The film has the same awkward, film-school pretentiousness as its title. Lots of handheld video, swells of eerie music and acting that borrows from the Béla Lugosi School of Theatrics make this seem like an amateur production. However, it stars professionals like Willem DaFoe as the police officer who likes to make expository speeches about how he’s a police officer; Chloë Sevigny as the doting fiancée; and Michael Shannon as the Looney Tunes-style crazy man who kills his mom with a sword. There’s a recurring theme of frozen time, with inexplicable shots of actors standing still in awkward poses. There are ostriches and rumors of ostriches. I have no idea what Herzog was trying to do here, but if it was an attempt at making a low-budget 1970s horror movie without any horror, then he pretty much succeeded.

Film Credits

Director: Werner Herzog

Producer: Eric Bassett, Bingo Gubelmann, Benji Kohn and David Lynch

Cast: Willem Dafoe, Verne Troyer, Chloë Sevigny, Brad Dourif, Michael Shannon, Michael Pena, Loretta Devine, Udo Kier, Grace Zabriskie, Irma Hall and Braden Lynch

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