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My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done? DVD Review

Inspired by a true story, My Son, My Son, What Ye Done? is a murderous drama written and directed by Werner Herzog, and produced by David Lynch.

Michael Shannon portrays Brad McCullum, a man who murders his mother with a sword after becoming obsessed with the character he’s portraying in a stage play. After the crime is committed, Brad holes himself up in his house with two hostages and a rifle. Willem Dafoe portrays Hank Havenhurst, a detective, and Chloe Sevigny plays Brad’s fianc√©e, Ingrid. The movie’s story is told both as present events unfold, and in the form of flashbacks revealed predominantly by Ingrid.

As more and more is revealed about Brad, in particular about a life-altering trip to Peru he took a year ago, it becomes blatantly obvious that the man is not right in the head, nor has he been for quite some time. Frustratingly, at no point in the flashbacks does anyone seem more than minutely confused by Brad’s too-weird-to-be-eccentric behavior.

Coming from such amazing filmmakers, you would think My Son, My Son would ooze with originality and weirdness. Alas, it does not. This is a straight-up murder story, and a pretty mundane one at that.

All three lead actors are great with what they’re given, though, especially Shannon as the psychotic McCullum. However, the film fails to generate the slightest tension, and rather than “razzle dazzle” us (a phrase McCullum is quite taken by), it instead leaves us bored and confused. Not confused by the whodunit aspect of the story, for that much is obvious, but by questions that, had they been answered, could have led to a more enjoyable movie. Questions like, “why did no one notice how troubled this man was before?”, “why did Ingrid stay with Brad, when he quite clearly was crazy?”, and “what was Brad like before the madness took over?”

SUMMARY: Though the filmmakers and actors in My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done? are all exceptionally talented, this film is a dull tale that confuses more than it entices, and not the good kind of confusion, either.

OVERALL GRADE: D+

September 10, 2010 - Posted by | DVD review

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