My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done

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Inspired by a true crime, a man begins to experience mystifying events that lead him to slay his mother with a sword.

Release Year: 2009

Rating: 6.3/10 (3,835 voted)

Critic's Score: 59/100

Director: Werner Herzog

Stars: Michael Shannon, Willem Dafoe, Chloë Sevigny

Inspired by a true crime, a man begins to experience mystifying events that lead him to slay his mother with a sword.

Writers: Werner Herzog, Herbert Golder

Michael Shannon - Brad McCullum
Willem Dafoe - Detective Hank Havenhurst
Chloë Sevigny - Ingrid
Brad Dourif - Uncle Ted
Michael Peña - Detective Vargas
Udo Kier - Lee Meyers
Loretta Devine - Miss Roberts
Verne Troyer -
Grace Zabriskie - Mrs. McCullum
James C. Burns - Swat Commander Brown
Irma P. Hall - Mrs. Roberts
Candice Coke - Officer Slocum
Braden Lynch - Gary
Gabriel Pimentel - Midget
Jenn Liu - Receptionist

Taglines: The Mystery Isn't Who. But Why.


Official Website: Official site |

Release Date: 8 July 2010

Filming Locations: Calaveras Big Trees State Park, California, USA

Opening Weekend: £6,815 (UK) (10 September 2010) (2 Screens)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

Executive producer David Lynch had previously worked with Willem Dafoe in Wild at Heart and Brad Dourif in both Dune and Blue Velvet.

Ingrid: [Talking to a police officer concerning Brad McCullum's actions] I'm his fiancee, I think I can help!

User Review

Small but classic Herzog

Rating: 8/10

OK, maybe you have to be a Herzog fan to get this one. In its small and quiet way it's a classic Herzogian study of visionary madness and obsession, played out this time with mordant irony against the blandness of suburban San Diego. Brad, a brooding man-child who lives with his mom, gradually goes nuts, saying and doing increasingly unhinged (and funny) things to his clueless loved ones, played by goofy character actors like Udo Kier, Grace Zabriskie and Chloe Sevigny. Willem Dafoe plays the equally clueless detective called in when Brad, inevitably, explodes in a single (off-screen) act of violence. All the usual Herzog flourishes are here, though often played small: odd animals, oddball people, grimly threatening nature, useless bureaucratic procedures, civilization and its hapless inhabitants struggling to maintain order and etiquette in the face of the world's natural madness, violence and chaos. It's a wacky, Herzogian comedy of manners, very much in the tradition of many of his films from Dwarfs through Stroszek to Grizzly Man. If you like Herzog you'll probably like it; if not, maybe not.


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