Frailty Review

Director: Bill Paxton
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Bill Paxton, Powers Boothe, Matthew O’Leary and Jeremy Sumpter.
100 mins, Cert 15

Fenton Meeks (Matthew McConaughey) explains to FBI agent Wesley Doyle (Powers Boothe) that his dead brother Adam was the wanted God’s Hands serial killer. He tells Doyle his brother was affected by the madness of their father, played in flashback by director Bill Paxton.

Dad believed he was visited by an angel that gave his family a mission to slay demons, a mission he carried out on ordinary people with an axe. The two boys, played superbly by Matthew O’Leary and Jeremy Sumpter, aid their father in the kidnap, butchery and burial of his victims. Fenton believes his father is insane and aids him through fear but younger brother Adam is convinced of their divine mission.

Paxton avoids visual complexity in his directorial debut, the camera is used simply, adding a sense of normality to the proceedings. Similarly his performance of the father shows an ordinary man that believes in the truth of his actions, without showing signs of madness. He is a kind and loving father who genuinely cares for his two children.

In many ways Frailty is an allegorical tale of faith and vengeance. The plot takes some surprising turns that lead the audience to question the supposed madness of the father and the behaviour of his sons. Frailty is at times shocking, yet the violence mostly occurs off screen. Paxton has crafted a strange and sinister movie that asks questions about the nature of faith and its consequences. In an age of ironic slasher movies Frailty may struggle to find an audience, yet it’s a smart and thoughtful movie that deserves to be seen.