Release Date
December 11, 2009
Werner Herzog
Herbert Golder
Werner Herzog
Distributed By
IFC Films
Drama, Mystery, Thriller
Rated NR
91 minutes

My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done

One thing can be said for sure: Werner Herzog is set in his ways. With the second cop-related drama this year, Herzog shows many of the same tendencies that appeared in Bad Lieutenant-Port of Call New Orleans, as well as in his previous films. The two main themes that appear are Herzog’s preoccupation with animals, especially the flamingos and ostriches in the film. Frames of the film are completely dedicated to the animals whether they are important to the plot or not. The other theme is portraiture. Many viewers will be turned off by the discomfort caused by the actors staring at the camera for several minutes at a time in the fashion of portraiture, something that could only be explained from the director’s mouth himself.

Michael Shannon brings a great, tormented performance. Shannon plays Brad McCullen, the eccentric murderer of his mother. The film follows McCullen in the days leading up to the matricide of his mother. With the character being inspired on real life murderer and actor Mark Yavorsky whose murder was inspired by a Greek tragedy. The Greek tragedy element sets this film apart from most murder dramas.

The cast caps off nicely with Willem Dafoe and Chloe Sevigny, who mainly remain filler, supporting Michael Shannon in his journey. Dafoe plays the lead homicide police officer on the case who is interrogating the witnesses while Sevigny plays Shannon’s love interest, with the most in-sight into why Shannon did what he did to his mother.

If you can stomach the Herzog eccentricism and randomness of the plot, the film actually has some worthwhile moments. Herzog is still a director for a reason, you just have to understand his method of madness.

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