Death and Texas
"Frailty" is an old-style thriller more genuinely shocking than gory about a loving father who teaches his kids about the family business: killing people.
By DAN EPSTEIN
Fenton Meiks (Matthew McConaughey) shows up at the office of FBI agent
Wesley Doyle (Powers Boothe) and says that his brother is the "God's Hand"
killer, a serial killer that Agent Doyle is investigating. Instead of telling
the agent exactly where the killer is, he tells the story, all in flashback,
of how his widowed father (Bill Paxton) was supposedly chosen by God to
kidnap and murder demons that are in the form of humans. The father was
given three weapons, a lead pipe to knock the demons out with, gloves so
that later he may reveal them to be demons by touching them, and an axe to
kill them. All of this he did right in front of his sons.
"Frailty" is a disturbing movie very skillfully directed by Bill Paxton
himself. It's disturbing not because of any gore camera angles and shadows expertly hide the murders but because a father is murdering
people in front of children. Aside from this daring twist, the film is a
throwback to the old-fashioned thriller. Screenwriter Brent Hanley obviously was paying homage in concept to the likes of Hitchcock and Billy Wilder but at the same time putting a spin on such modern classics as "Se7en" and "The Usual Suspects" it's not just a film with a twist ending, it's a film with four or five twists. At times Paxton may hit you over the head with these plot developments by telegraphing them about two minutes ahead, but until events reveal themselves you're just guessing. The most interesting aspect of this film is the "what if" situation, meaning, what if religious "extremists" are right about God?
|Directed by: Bill Paxton.|
Written by: Brent Hanley.
Cast: Bill Paxton, Matthew McConaughey, Powers Boothe, Matthew O'Leary, Jeremy Sumpter, Luke Askew, Derk Cheetwood, Blake King..
Related links: Official site
This project was shot in 37 days and is obviously a labor of love for
character actor turned leading man Bill Paxton.Avoiding the cliche of the malicious father who beats his children, even though this family is dirt-poor Paxton pulls off the nice dad who loves his kids until the killing begins. All three main actors were born and raised is Texas and this is a homegrown tale. Though this is Paxton's directorial debut and writer Brent Hanley's first produced screenplay, it certainly won't be last time for either one.
Matthew McConaughey turns in one of his best performances with
this role as an obviously disturbed man. Most surprising are the excellent
performances by the child actors Matthew O'Leary as the young Fenton Meiks
and Jeremy Sumpter as the young Adam Meiks.
|APRIL 18, 2002|
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The Ax from James, Feb 10, 2003
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