My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done Reviews
The story follows a disturbed man (Michael Shannon, who was excellent in the film Take Shelter and one of the only good things about Man of Steel) who lives with his overbearing mother and, one day, murders her with a sword. Most of the movie plays out as a hostage situation, with him inside his house hiding from the police, as his girlfriend (Chloe Sevigny) and drama teacher (Udo Kier) tell a detective (Willem Dafoe) stories about him, which we see in flashbacks.
Parts of the movie play like a remix of other elements from better Herzog movies. Insane protagonist? Check. Scenes shot in the Amazon jungle? Check. Lingering contemplative shots of animals? Check. There's a lot of Herzog-ian stuff here, but compared to his other films it largely feels tossed-off and/or inelegantly incorporated. The acting is agreeably strange, and there are a few long takes where I felt true brilliance shining through. On the whole, though, it's not one of Herzog's stronger films, and feels like an afterthought relative to, say, Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans. If you love Herzog already, go ahead; if you've never seen Herzog before, I've got 14 other movies I recommend first.
The end result isn't exactly bizarre. It's not mainstream. It doesn't boast much drama. And it's about as horrific and suspenseful as an episode of Dora the Explorer. Everything this film should have been, it isn't.
Worth checking out for completists but not really the most enjoyable of watches otherwise.