Frailty is about a man (Matthew McConauhey) who goes to the FBI to tell an agent his family's story of how his very religious father's visions of seeing God and angels lead him to killing people who he believed where demons. It's also about a father and his relationship between his two sons.
A twisted movie with a lot of twists in it. I was pleasantly surprised by the change of the course the movie takes at the end. What a twist that was. I really didn't have high hopes for this movie, but it ended up being one of the best thrillers I have ever seen. Good story line, great actors, nice Directing, little bit of gore, (but nothing to heavy) and disturbing in so many ways. The ending was perfect. Bill Paxton doesn't only star as the father in this great thriller but he also directs it. What a great job by him.
Really enjoyed this movie and those of you who like a good thriller will definitely like this movie.
Frailty is the story of a close family, when one day, the father (played in an exceptional performance from Bill Paxton) claims he has seen a vision from God, who has sent him on a 'mission' to kill 'demons'. The demons, according to the father, disguise themselves like regular people, but only he knows who they are.
The great thing about Frailty is it manages to go one step ahead to your typical film of this genre. Recently, there seems to have been a lot of psychological horror or thriller films that fall just below average, and are easily forgettable. However, Frailty somehow manages to be better than that, and become a film that sticks out from the usual one's of its type. For one thing, it is very thought-provoking, giving you the opportunity to watch a satisifying, not totally open-ended film, but instead a partly solved ambiguous mystery.
The other thing that adds to the atmospheric tension of Frailty is the brilliant and highly intelligent narrative. At the beginning of the film, we are led to trust the father, just as the children do, but during the scene where he tells them of his 'vision', we become sceptical almost of his sanity, just as Fenton is. Thus, as the narrative progresses, it seems you can watch the film on different levels as you trust your own judgements.
Bill Paxton provides a solid performance as good as his directing, playing a twisted man, yet still winning the trust of his youngest son. The two child performances are exceptional also, as is McConaughey. They leave us with the possibility that this event could happen in any town, and in my opinion, that is what makes the film so creepy.
I watched this film when it was released years ago and I haven't forgotten it. After watching the DVD recently, I spotted new things that I didn't last time, and watched it on a completely different level. I think that's a sign of a good film, especially of this genre. Frailty is a disturbing and completely unforgettable film, one of the best films I have seen in its genre.
A sinister tale, well written and put together well, I never tire from watching this and never fail to be impressed.
To anyone who hasn't watched this film yet, you really should.
Unlike High Tension, I can kind of appreciate the use of this ending. It really didn't gel with the rest of the movie's tone, however, which was my main problem with it. The movie spends well over an hour demonizing (no pun intended) religion and then all of a sudden expects us to sympathize with its agenda? Call me crazy, but this didn't quite work out for me.
To divulge any more about why the ending didn't resonate quite right would spoil the film, but I found myself ultimately a little disappointed. It's too bad, because Frailty is full of talent. Directed very strongly by Bill Paxton, and written with restraint and ability, the movie is technically quite sound. The performances are great, except for consistently underwhelming McConaughey - though this is the best role he's ever taken he looked dead-eyed through it and completely failed to rise to the occasion. It's a shame that he got top billing over the talented young Matt O'Leary, but such is Hollywood, right?
A strange and ominous man (Matthew McConaughey) is seated in an FBI office. He introduces himself as Fenton Meiks; the agent whose office he has entered goes by the name of Doyle (Powers Booth). The later has no idea what the former wants. He finds this oddball searching through his stuff when he finally arrives to the office after being called down to meet with Mr. Meiks. The agent is currently investigating a murder case centering on the infamous "God's Hand Killer" of Dallas, Texas. It is highly suggested and eventually confirmed that Fenton Meiks knows his share about the murders committed by this notorious local serial killer.
I suppose it all begins back in Fenton's childhood days; most of which he shared with only his Dad (Bill Paxton) and his younger brother Adam. The father of the two boys works as an auto-mechanic by trade; although at home, his life is devoted to but only two things, and that is his children and God. One night, however, Dad takes the second thing to dangerous and almost surreal new extremes; he comes to the boys' bedroom at night and explains to them that he has received a vision from God.
Dad now believes that he and the kids were sent to earth to slay the demons that freely roam it; disguised by their deceptive exteriors. The father claims to have been sent a special list of the demons that the family must collectively hunt, and so he keeps that close by at all times. He claims that to kill the demons, they must first receive the heaven-sent weapons; one of which is an axe so important that it even gets its own credit: Otis. With Otis in hand, the demon killing spree begins; with Dad getting the first taste of the madness and eventually letting his children in on all the fun. Fenton would rather not explore such dark things; while his younger kin is more willing to follow his dad's beliefs and values. In no time at all, the father has become the God's Hand Killer, in hopes that his sons shall someday take the name for themselves and continue to slay those nasty servants of Satan.
This is precisely the story that Fenton tells the Agent throughout the film. He earns the trust of the man who is of higher power - the Agent - and eventually he leads him to the spot where the Meiks family stared their faith straight in the face. This place of danger and bewilderment comes in the form of a rose garden; it is a location of traumatic childhood memories and silent cries from beyond the grave. A lot happens here whether we're seeing things through the eyes of children (in flash-back form) or in real-time as it's happening in the plot.
I half-expected the film to turn into another generic slasher picture when that trusty bastardization (Otis) reared its ugly (and sharp) ends. An axe is always a sign of danger in a horror movie; someone's got to use it, right? Most of the time, yes, this is the case.
However, my expectations of that turning point where very wrong. "Frailty" turned out to be anything but a familiar and boring excess in both violence and unsympathetic stupidity. In fact, it is a film of great sympathy; and perhaps even great horror. It's being marketed as a film within the boundaries of the horror genre, although it's one of those rare (and great) movies that takes it upon itself to mess with so many conventions that it almost transcends any classification, genre-wise. Paxton's film could be a thriller - because it is thrilling - and it could also be a horror film - because it depicts humane horror with an agenda. But deep down, there's this desire to be a drama; and among other things, I think this is where the film is most successful.
We identify with the childish sensibilities of the brothers; so we understand the pain that they must endure and the change that they are experiencing. I think they both fear their father - who is simply going mad in the head after being deluded by his religious beliefs - although only one out of the two is able to speak up for himself and voice his personal opinions. So there's some good character development that allows us to really connect with the central protagonists. And then there is the father - who is nothing less than a modern example of a great "Bad Dad" in the movies -. He repeatedly manipulates his sons out of his delusion; which is the only thing leading up to the assumption that he is the antagonist of this story. Yet, I feel "Frailty" is such a well-done and skillfully written film; it inspires sympathy for both sides and while we never like the father due to the things he says and does, we never quite hate him either, because we understand where his actions are coming from; his shattered mind.
Horror movies are seldom thought-provoking; just as thrillers are rarely great anymore. Here's a film that successfully makes a winner of itself in all genres that it covers: from horror to thrillers to, yes, even drama. It tells a sad, tragic, traumatic story of religion and how it can delude unassuming victims of psychological torment to committing acts of violence. This theme would have lost its relevance and its power if Paxton had intended to show much of the violence on-screen; but he's more interested in tension and the disturbing things which we cannot see. He wants us to hear, to feel, and to sense; he does so like a true master. "Frailty" is a thriller with emotions unlike any I have ever seen; and a horror film that depicts the horror like a true genre picture should be. It is often silent, discreet, and oh so very smart. I'd say it's about first-rate in every department.