My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done?

Michael Shannon in My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done?

In My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done?, Werner Herzog explores why an actor would re-enact a theatrical scene for real and kill his mother with the sword that he had been using for a prop.  The short answer is because he was crazier than shit.  This is based on an actual event.  The generally intense and often creepy Michael Shannon plays the murderer, who has suffered a schizophrenic breakdown and is decompensating by the minute.  The audience wants to tell his fiance (Chloe Sevigny) to run, not walk, away from him.  His craziness is so immediately apparent, that there’s really no arc to the film, as we watch flashbacks from the prior year.

Shannon, who is now seen as the revenue agent in HBO’s fine Boardwalk Empire, is very scary.  Incidentally, the movie belongs to that very small subgenre of films where Williem Dafoe (here the cop) does not play the creepiest character.  Dafoe is also out-creeped by Brad Dourif, whose role apparently exists to show that entire family is crazy (like Arsenic and Old Lace).

I would rather recommend a great Michael Shannon performance in a much better film, Shotgun Stories.

The film had an extremely limited theatrical release early this year, but was not widely distributed.  Available now on DVD.

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One Response to My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done?

  1. Robert Lee says:

    Wow. I love Herzog’s work, and I can’t believe I missed this. Netflixing immediately!


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