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

STUDIO: First Look | DIRECTOR: Werner Herzog | CAST: Michael Shannon, Willem Dafoe, Chloe Sevigny, Udo Kier, Michael Pena, Grace Zabriskie
RELEASE DATE: 9/14/2010 | PRICE: DVD $24.98
BONUSES: commentary, director/co-writer interview, short film Plastic Bag
SPECS: R | 92 min. | Cult drama | 1.85:1 widescreen | Dolby Digital 5.1 | English subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5): Movie | Audio | Video | Overall

“I have the feeling that David Lynch’s and my films don’t talk to each other, they dance with one another.” So says Werner Herzog on the DVD commentary for My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done, his oddball American-made fiction movie that has more than a hint of Lynch about it.

Based on a true story, the plot of the independent film centers around an earnest but insane young actor who has killed his mother with a sword and is holed up inside his house, surrounded by police and a SWAT team. The quirky characters, deadpan-weird dialog and certain bits of Americana (including flamingos as lawn ornaments and pets) betray the influence of Lynch, although he served only as the film’s executive producer and left Herzog and crew to their own devices.

My Son… is entertaining, but would be a very bad place for those unfamiliar with Herzog’s work to start to play catch-up. However, for those who already know his best work, the DVD is essential, because the stories told in the on-screen interviews included on the disc are more eye-opening than the drama film itself.

In the enjoyable audio commentary, Herzog notes that the film’s best moments were all made up on the set, and in an eco-friendly short film, Herzog supplies the voice of a drifting plastic bag.

With all these, you have a disc that is a must-have for Herzog’s fans — even if they don’t care to revisit the movie.


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About Ed

Ed Grant has written about film for a wide range of periodicals, books and websites. He edited the reference book The Motion Picture Guide Annual and, since 1993, has produced and hosted the weekly cable program Media Funhouse, which Time magazine called “the most eclectic and useful movie show on TV.”