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
Michael McConaughey stars
in the new thriller Frailty, which is the directorial debut of Bill Paxton
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
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
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