I saw Frailty nearly six months ago when it premiered at the Deep Ellum Festival. But somehow it’s still fresh in my mind. Now, all these months later, it is at last receive a real release across the country. I wrote a review of it at the time, however for contractual reasons I cannot use the marvelously glowing review I wrote then. Yet, I could not stand to let it’s release go by without giving it the proper attention it deserves to receive.
Frailty is the story of a small town Texas family. Father and two sons. All have only recently really begun to cope with the loss of their mother and wife. But at last, they seem to have found a bit of idyllic happiness in their one horse Texas town. Happiness doesn’t last. One night, Dad wakes both his sons, Fenton and Tommy. He’s had a vision! A message from god! There are demons in this world, and it is his job… no THEIR job to destroy them. God will send them three weapons, an ax, a lead pipe, and a pair of gloves to do his work here on earth.
Fenton is skeptical, but his younger brother, who worships is father, drinks it all in. In the morning they awake, and Fenton tried to forget. Things get worse. Much worse. Dad’s demons are real people and destroying them is a bloody business. Fenton tried to cope, to do what is right, to stop his father… but nothing turns out as he, or you would expect it to.
Frailty is a thriller of the highest order. Unlike modern horror movies, it is not obsessed with getting to the next shot of gore or decapitation. Instead, rookie Director Bill Paxton takes a higher, and much more engaging path with this marvelously directed head trip. Paxton often comes off as a bit of a goof. Frankly, I was shocked to discover such an incredible level of depth and maturity to his film. This is the closest thing to the mind sucking MAGIC of Hitchcock that I have ever seen since the man himself.
Frailty is more than just a mind blowing ending, it’s a slow and inevitable build up that is every bit as rewarding as the film’s final payoff itself. The cast itself is ever bit as stellar as the film’s directing, showcasing two of the finest child actors this Hobbit has seen since that acting machine Haley Joel Osmet. Paxton is brilliant and sympathetic… even while scaring the hell out of you. Matthew McConaughey continues to play another hick part… you know the type he loves, but he does so with the maturity and mystery this part demands.
Don’t pass Frailty up. It isn’t getting the widest release, and it’s not a big budget flick, but it deserves your attention! Seek it out and give Paxton a much deserved chance.