From Joe's Shelf
Federal Agent Powers Boothe (Tombstone) shows up at his office late at night, and finds Matthew McConaughey (Reign of Fire) waiting for him. What proceeds is a story from McConaughey about how his father (Bill Paxton, True Lies) made he and his younger brother help him destroy "demons" when they were still young.
Nearly the entire film is shown in flashback sequences with McConaughey narrating over it from time to time. There's a gloomy feeling over this movie that never lets up. It does a really good job of blurring the lines between religious fanaticism and pure righteousness. Along with starring, Paxton also directed this 2002 film that came with much critical praise.
What I like best, is that Frailty keeps you confused as to which side you should be on. The musical score from Brian Tyler (Constantine 2005), reminds me of Danny Elfman's (A simple Plan) more serious work. Some of the wide angle shots are absolutely beautiful, especially when most of the shots are intentionally claustrophobic.
Young McConaughey is played by Matt O'Leary (Live Free or Die Hard), and his younger brother is played by Jeremy Sumpter (Peter Pan 2003). There's not a lot of time for their normal lives here, because Paxton starts having angelic prophesizing visions fairly early on and it takes up everything.
Paxton is so good at playing this normal single father, that his turn towards God's wrath feels more tragic because of it. O'Leary is the main focal point of the story, and he keeps you on his side the whole time. McConaughey is mysteriously cold for most of the film, which adds to the overall dark tone. Boothe is cocky as usual, but that's a good thing.
The Good- Paxton seeing a fiery angel while working underneath a car, punishing the demons, and the truth revealed.
The Bad- There's an entire subplot about a serial killer, that gets barely a mention. With it added, it could have made this film even stronger.
The Ugly- There is a twist ending that hits like The Usual Suspects. Is that good? That's up to the viewer. For me, I see the film completely differently after the first viewing and so forth.
Frailty is more psychological than visual for the most part. It's one of those horror/thrillers that deserves to be mentioned with the likes of The Shining and Misery. Hmmm? It's almost like Stephen King wrote this or something. He didn't, but it sure feels like he did. Check this out when you get a chance and let me know what you think of it. Just make sure you watch it in the dark. You never know; Maybe an angel will come down and watch it with you?
Rating- 7.5 out of 10
R | 1h 40min | Crime, Drama, Thriller | 12 April 2002 (USA)
A man confesses to an FBI agent his family's story of how his religious fanatic father's visions lead to a series of murders to destroy supposed "demons."
Director: Bill Paxton
Writer: Brent Hanley
Stars: Bill Paxton, Matthew McConaughey, Powers Boothe