Thriller
Frailty
.
Dir: Bill Paxton
Star: Bill Paxton, Matthew McConaughey, Powers Boothe
Cert / Year: 18 - R / 2001
Format: DVD R2
'

Years after terrorizing a small Texas community, the "God's Hand Killer" has returned. Leaving in his wake, a perplexing trail of fear and death. Convinced that he knows the killer's identity, Fenton Meiks (Matthew McConaughey) shows up at a regional FBI headquarters, intent on meeting with Wesley Doyle (Powers Boothe), the agent in charge of the murder investigation, in an attempt to put a stop to the murderous rampage, and relieving his conscience of his family's sinister secret......

Surprisingly enough, this is an atmospheric and chilling tale. Far better than I had expected it to be and not a film to be underestimated. This is a superb directorial debut by the previously typecast "dead meat" actor Bill Paxton. The film manages to convey its chills without the usual gore and relies instead upon some good direction which suggests far more than it depicts as it comfortably leaves the audience to imagine and "fill in the blanks" so to speak. The story is simple, straightforward, nicely written and well constructed, making this an entertaining thriller. Admittedly, I did find it mildly predictable, but it is an engrossing watch nonetheless, providing an interesting perspective to the story as told in flashback by one of the children. You do find yourself wondering whether they really are stark staring bonkers, or if it is real, as the father, armed with his religious rationale, embroils the children into the fanatical bloodletting in the name of god. Which lets face it, as the more erudite amongst you will know that religion has been the cause of most wars and much of the worlds suffering, so these messages from god he is receiving must surely be the musings of a very disturbed mind. As the film unfolds, it leads you merrily in one direction, where you are convinced that you know where it is going, then as you become lazily engrossed in the story, you hardly notice the sub plot creep up on you before it serves up a surprise whammie and a good ending.

Some good performances, nothing fantastic but they are rather good. Powers Boothe is almost ageless and manages to play an almost identical character in most of his films. That said, he puts in a typically good performance here with only one or two scenes letting him down. McConaughey is a poor mans Woody Harelson but is watchable, even if his Southern drawl does tend to grate a bit after a while. He seems to be able to deal with the dramatic roles quite well, but I think he was better in Reign of Fire, even so he projects quite an ominous presence here. Paxton excels, but for a change its all eyes on his talents behind the camera which are surprisingly good, as opposed to in front of it. He still ends up as a typical Bill Paxton character, but his performance is unhinged and awkward but good. The children playing young Adam and young Fenton do exceptionally well, very impressive which makes a refreshing change.

Frailty is a tense thriller, which has some very Hitchcock-ian moments to it and a ballsy film for Paxton to tackle for his debut (not including "Fish Heads"). The story, despite being fraught with religious waffle, works nicely and provides a good and entertaining thriller, hardly rivetting but if you like a decent thriller, then this is worth seeing. I can't wait to see what Paxton directs next...

Taglines

Only demons should fear me.... and you're not a demon, are you?

Rating: 2 out of 5

DVD
Picture 2.35:1 anamorphic Good quality transfer
Audio Dolby Digital 5.1 Pretty cool
Features Unimpressive menu
Verdict Nothing to see here, move along. Terribly poor presentation, you would expect more for your money.

Rating: 0 out of 5

Reviewed by Logan Back Top Home