Frailty Movie Review
Bill Paxton ventures into the world of directing with the serial killer drama Frailty, a spooky, disturbing and overall well done film about the story of a killer starting from his childhood.
Paxton also stars as the father of two boys who one night has a dream that tells him demons are posing as humans and they must be destroyed. Thinking it a message from God, he enlists his sons to join him in ridding the world of demons, one by one. Unfortunately, they look very similar to real people, and, as far as anyone else can tell, they are real people. Several years later, an FBI Agent who has been working on the God's Hand killings receives a visit from one of the sons (Matthew McConaughey), who claims that his brother is the man responsible. The story he is about to tell will shock the Agent...
Paxton, as a director, is brilliant. Frailty is a dark movie with brooding visuals and a creepy sense of reality. He has created a family that on the surface is perfectly normal, but is hiding a secret that is about as horrible as one can imagine. The way he captures them on film, in shadows and dim light, is exceptional, a sign that Paxton will be doing more movies in the future. The film is eerie from beginning to end, carrying the audience on a journey to the deepest crevices of the mind.
Paxton, as an actor, is another story. It's not that he's bad - it's just that he's the same in every movie, whether being a good guy or a bad guy. Sure, he's supposed to sound a little crazy, but when he explains to his sons time and time again that he is killing because God wants him to, he just doesn't sound right in the role. He sounds about as nice as he did in Twister, and that's a problem. Then again, at times, Paxton does fit the role well; here is a seemingly ordinary father who thinks he is on a mission from God, and he's just trying to explain things to his children, just like he would anything else. Paxton has its moments, but honestly, I see him becoming a full fledged actor over the next couple of years, since people don't seem all that interested in him as an actor.
The actual story is pretty creepy and compelling, even though it focuses on murders and not much else. The film is very much a character story, and so the police's investigation is not given much thought; it's a nice change of pace. Paxton may hold back a little too much when it comes to gore - there isn't any- but other than that, the movie is fairly effective.
The only cause for concern is the ending. If you know there is a twist ending, then it is pretty predictable, since there are not many options. There is one good mini-twist on top of the overall twist, but Paxton adds another element to the film that need not be there at all. It is hard to explain without giving away the ending, but let's just say that Paxton veers away from reality just a little bit, and I wasn't at all too pleased. The ending seems cheesy and disappointing.
Frailty is a pretty good movie, taking quite a different approach to the serial killer drama. The acting is a little shaky in a few parts, but Paxton's job as director covers up those minor flaws. The ending is a real letdown, though.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.