Friday, April 12, 2002 Volume 67, Issue 129



Paxton debuts as director in worthy thriller

By Heather L. Nicholson
Daily Cougar Staff

Once in a while, a movie will come along that is smart, electrifying and above all, thought-provoking.

Photo courtesy of Lions Gate Pictures

Michael McConaughey stars in the new thriller Frailty, which is the directorial debut of Bill Paxton (not pictured).

Frailty is the summer's twisted thriller that will leave audiences in awe without stumping them as to whodunit or leaving any annoying loose ends that
can only be speculated upon.

Any film that has the audience engaging in unusual conversation on the car ride home is always a good sign. Frailty has a dramatic and horrific
portrayal of religious fanaticism that makes one wonder about his or her own sins and whether faith really pays off.

Religion can go either way in Hollywood pictures. There is the utopian, extremist route that portrays religion as the light and sole answer to all of life's
troubles. Movies such as Michael and The Seventh Sign try to give that message.

On the other hand, there are pictures such as The Exorcist and The Apostle that show a more gritty, darker side to religion through fanaticism or the
undoing of faith.

Frailty takes a step beyond both of these categories. It is definitely gritty and dark, but the fanatic is the protagonist while other "sensible" people are his

Bill Paxton is not only one of the stars of the film, but it is his directorial debut as well. Lions Gate Pictures invested $20 million in Paxton's project,
which is the most money the movie company has ever spent on a single picture to date.

Paxton plays a blue-collar single dad who receives a special message from God one evening. While trying to carry out his religious mission, he finds
difficulty in convincing his son of his far-fetched visit from the Almighty.

His missions, however, aren't the typical church-going activities charity drives and good deeds. Instead, he believes he is a demon-slayer instructed
by God to kill certain people.

Matthew McConaughey plays Paxton's son as an adult. McConaughey's character is also the storyteller of the film, using flashbacks of his childhood
and the work his father did for God.

He finds himself letting all the skeletons out of his family closet to an FBI agent. As he plays a man at the end of his rope, he is prepared to lead the
agent to his family's secret.

The movie has its own twists and turns, but filmmakers did not make those obstacles hard to follow. Each surprise twist is revealed moments before it
surprises you. This effect ensures that audiences don't leave the theater unfulfilled or confused as to what really went on.

The simplicity doesn't take away the effect of the end. You will probably be able to guess the end during the first 45 minutes of the movie, but there is a
certain satisfaction to seeing your prediction come true.

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