Frailty

"Extraordinary"

Frailty Review


What if God spoke to you? No, I'm not talking about last night when you drank that bottle of tequila. What if he came to you sober and gave you a mission?

The Maiks family was a happy one. Father and two young sons, they had carved out an all American existence after the boy's mother died giving birth to the youngest. Until the boy's father (Bill Paxton) gets a visit from God, bestowing upon him a terrible mission to rid the world of demons, complete with a list of names of real human beings upon which the family is to wreak divine vengeance. And you thought your family was dysfunctional. Still firmly grounded in the real world, 12-year-old Fenton Maiks (Matthew O'Leary) is convinced his father has gone mad, and struggles to find the courage to stop his insane killing spree, before his younger brother is completely brainwashed.

Despite Director Bill Paxton's claims that the title is a reference to the movie's budget, Frailty couldn't be more appropriately named. The film's narrative is woven on the most delicate of threads, pulling its audience through a dark and disturbed trail of past and present, following the evolution of a serial killer. As a director, Paxton is surprisingly brilliant, deftly sewing together what could have been a confusing and horrifying vision into an intense and engrossing head-trip.

However, Paxton's pulling double duty here as director and actor. Truthfully, I've never seen him this good. Maybe he's just better connected to the material, since he's working at it from more than one angle, but Bill owns this film, on screen or behind the camera. Young Matthew O'Leary too, showboats a deft bit of maturity in his acting style, whether wielding an axe or a grave-digging shovel.

Where Frailty deserves the most credit though is in its total lack of gore. A lot of good folks get hacked up in this flick, but there's not one spurt of fake blood, not one splatter of brains across the wall. Instead, Frailty opts for the much more suspenseful and terrifying option of letting viewers envision death for themselves. In a manner that can only be described as deliciously Hitchcockian, Paxton cuts away just before the axe falls, leaving the terrifying possibilities of each victims demise to swim in our heads.

With all there is to love about Frailty, it might be easy to overlook a couple of minor flaws, but they bear mentioning. First, the musical score, which is suitably mysterious and dark, also happens to be the same suitably mysterious and dark musical score heard in every mysterious and dark movie made in the past decade. Maybe they didn't have the budget to pick up a decent composer, I suppose ten million bucks really isn't much dough by Hollywood standards, but some originality would've been nice. Then there's the ending, which is actually quite good. Truth is uncovered, preconceived notions are shattered, and we end up with one hell of a twist. But frankly, it was a little easy to see coming. I don't know that that really detracts much from the film, because I didn't leave feeling let down. Quite the contrary. However, if you think it through while watching it, it's a little bit too easy to realize there's only one possible conclusion to this type of madman tale.

But I don't want to hack the movie up into a bloody mess. As far as axe-wielding mayhem goes, this flick is top-of-the-line, and definitely a lot more than just blood and guts serial killer horror. Paxton's made it smart, suspenseful, and sophisticated, and audiences won't be disappointed.

The DVD includes three commentary tracks (Paxton's is especially interesting), several deleted scenes (worth watching), and various other vignettes. Highly recommended disc.

\

Can ya dig it?



Frailty

Facts and Figures

Run time: 100 mins

In Theaters: Friday 12th April 2002

Box Office USA: $13.1M

Box Office Worldwide: $13.1M

Budget: $11M

Distributed by: Lions Gate Films

Production compaines: Cinerenta Medienbeteiligungs KG, David Kirschner Productions, American Entertainment Partners L.P.

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 73%
Fresh: 108 Rotten: 40

IMDB: 7.3 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Father Meiks, as Adam Meiks, as FBI-Agent Wesley Doyle, as Young Fenton, as Young Adam, as Sheriff Smalls, Levi Kreis as Fenton Meiks, as Agent Griffin Hull, as Becky Meiks, Alan Davidson as Brad White, as Cynthia Harbridge, Gwen McGee as Operator, as Teacher

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Wind River Movie Review

Wind River Movie Review

After writing the superb Sicario and Hell or High Water, Taylor Sheridan moves back into...

The Vault Movie Review

The Vault Movie Review

Filmmakers Dan Bush and Conal Byrne attempt a mash-up of a frantic heist movie with...

Goon: Last of the Enforcers Movie Review

Goon: Last of the Enforcers Movie Review

The 2012 Canadian comedy Goon was one of those surprising little films that snuck up...

Detroit Movie Review

Detroit Movie Review

After The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty, Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal reteam to...

Logan Lucky Movie Review

Logan Lucky Movie Review

Good news: Steven Soderbergh's well-publicised retirement from directing only lasted about four years. He's back...

American Made Movie Review

American Made Movie Review

An enjoyably freewheeling tone and Tom Cruise's star wattage combine to make this an entertaining...

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Movie Review

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Movie Review

It's been a decade since Al Gore's wake-up-call documentary won the Oscar. And here he...

Advertisement
The Hitman's Bodyguard Movie Review

The Hitman's Bodyguard Movie Review

It really doesn't matter that this movie is utterly ridiculous, because the central pairing of...

Final Portrait Movie Review

Final Portrait Movie Review

A relaxed, amusing true story about noted Swiss painter and sculptor Alberto Giacometti, this sharply...

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Finnish artist Tuoko Laaksonen used the name "Tom of Finland" as he drew explicit illustrations...

A Ghost Story Movie Review

A Ghost Story Movie Review

Filmmaker David Lowery reunites the stars from his offbeat Western Ain't Them Bodies Saints for...

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

From the co-director of John Wick, this similarly styled action romp puts Charlize Theron front...

Girls Trip Movie Review

Girls Trip Movie Review

This movie's premise basically sounds like The Hangover with added black girl power. But it's...

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

There's so much manic energy in this animated action comedy that it can't help but...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.