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Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > Crime > Murder > Police > Surrealism > My Son, My Son What Have Ye Done (2009/Absurda/First Look DVD)

My Son, My Son What Have Ye Done (2009/Absurda/First Look DVD)


Picture: C     Sound: C+     Extras: C-     Film: C-



Werner Herzog has been flirting with American crime narrative films lately and following his hilarious misstep with the Bad Lieutenant remake, he has teamed up with David Lynch as producer to helm the highly problematic My Son, My Son What Have Ye Done (2009) where he tries to do a film with the auteuristic characteristics of a Lynch film, but is not Lynch and cannot find his way to integrate his not always distinctive approach into it.


With a screenplay he penned with collaborator Herbert Golder, we get the mixed tale (in both its failure and its non-linear unspooling on film) about a crazed young man (Michael Shannon from Revolutionary Road) possibly holding someone hostage, having killed his mother with a Samurai Sword, also possibly killing a group of people on a rafting trip and is upsetting an entire suburban neighborhood.  Two cops (Willem Dafoe and Michael Pena) try to help, as we try to piece together what exactly is happening.


Tough the cast is engaging and the only reason I did not fall asleep, I thought this never worked on any level, is everything we have seen before and the weight of attempting something on the Lynch frequency never works out.  The cast also includes the underrated Chloe Sevigny as his girlfriend, Grace Zabriskie as his old-fashioned mother, Udo Kier, Irma P. Hall, Brad Dourif, Verne Troyer and Loretta Devine.  In this case, you might want to see for yourself, but don’t expect much.


The anamorphically enhanced 1.85 X 1 image was shot with the 4K RED ONE HD camera and with its stylizing, has some color limits, definition & detail limits and an overall washed out look too often to be as engaging as a Herzog or Lynch film usually is.  Director of Photography Peter Zeitlinger has lensed Herzog’s last few films, but this is not as good looking as Rescue Dawn or Bad Lieutenant: Port Of Call – New Orleans, both of which made Blu-ray and are reviewed elsewhere on this site.  Also, can the Lynch look work on HD?  We’ll explore that another time.  The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix is mostly quiet and dialogue-based, so don’t expect a great soundfield, though some of the sound design has some good character just the same.


Extras include trailers, previews, interviews, Ramin Bahrani’s Plastic Bag short narrated by Herzog and a feature length audio commentary track by Herzog.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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