How did you feel about the way "Frailty" ended? (Spoilers within)

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Ricardo C, Aug 14, 2003.

  1. Ricardo C

    Ricardo C Producer

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2002
    Messages:
    5,059
    Likes Received:
    0
    (I seem to be catching a lot of less-than-current films lately, don't I? :b Better late than never, says I [​IMG])

    I watched "Frailty" on DVD last night. Before I watched it, I checked a few reviews AND made the mistake of checking the imdb's cast listing. I say "mistake" because most reviews start off by saying that "Fenton Meiks" goes to the FBI to explain the God's Hand murders. But of course, imdb lists Matthew M. as Adam Meiks. Therefore, I spent most of the movie thinking I was watching a new spin on "The Usual Suspects" and I felt I knew how it would end.

    Boy, was I blindsided by the true ending [​IMG][​IMG] It was like being punched in the gut repeatedly, while Paxton and Co. yelled "who's yo' daddy???" over and over :p) It COMPLETELY surprised me, even though I like to think I have good instincts when it comes to figuring out surprise endings.

    So, how did I feel afterwards? Unsettled. Disturbed. More nervous than I felt after watching The Exorcist, The Ring, The Others, and any other memorable horror film you care to mention. Sure, it turned out that Adam and his dad WEREN'T insane, and that they were truly slaying demons, so they were actually the "good guys", but come on... Look at the realization it leaves us with: Turns out the "loving God" most people believe in (myself included) is actually a very mean ol' bastard who has no qualms about using innocent civilians to do his dirty work, and worse yet, has no problem with asking children to get involved in the bloodshed, or letting his "soldiers" kill innocent people who jeopardize the mission. That final shot of Adam striking a heroic pose in the afternoon sun with his pregnant wife by his side, was one of the scariest shots I've seen in ANY movie. It was brilliant.

    And personally, I think that's the reaction Paxton was going for. I don't think we're supposed to cheer the fact that Adam's dad was right. However, I've read a few reviews (mostly on religion-oriented sites) that have left me puzzle. Some people have either rejected the film because "it paints Christians as irrational lunatics", while at least one other reviewer actually REJOICED when it was revealed that Adam was a real demon slayer.

    While this isn't meant to be a religious discussion I WOULD like to know if my reaction to the ending was unusual. How do you guys feel about the film's ending? Personally, I think it was an excellent twist and although it leaves viewers with a pretty dark concept of God and his methods, it shouldn't be taken as being "offensive". It's not supposed to be a piece of propaganda either for or against religion, it's simply a film that uses our notions of God, and right and wrong, as plot devices. Very intelligently so, I might add.

    Mods, if this topic is a no-no, please delete, and accept my apologies in advance [​IMG]
     
  2. Nick Sievers

    Nick Sievers Producer

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2000
    Messages:
    3,481
    Likes Received:
    0
    I'm a big fan of Frailty and as a matter of fact we were discussing the ending in the Screenshot Comp in the Polls area. Seems that there are a few ideas for the ending. I know in the Official Discussion thread around the films release it had people mixed over what the ending implied, and marred the overall experience for them.
     
  3. ChuckSolo

    ChuckSolo Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2003
    Messages:
    1,160
    Likes Received:
    0
    I personally enjoyed it. The whole movie was very enjoyable with a great surprise ending.
     
  4. Scott Weinberg

    Scott Weinberg Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2000
    Messages:
    7,477
    Likes Received:
    0
    Love, love, LOVE the ending.

    It's dark and thought-provoking and uncompromising. It's the perfect capper on a brilliant little movie.
     
  5. Justin_S

    Justin_S Producer

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2001
    Messages:
    3,576
    Likes Received:
    1
    I think the ending is simply fantastic, and when I first saw the film, it surprised the hell out of me as well. One of the best endings to a horror film if you ask me! Amazing movie, amazing ending!
     
  6. Qui-Gon John

    Qui-Gon John Producer

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2000
    Messages:
    3,527
    Likes Received:
    0
    Ditto, I loved this movie and the ending!
     
  7. Rob Tomlin

    Rob Tomlin Producer

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2000
    Messages:
    4,505
    Likes Received:
    0
    Excellent movie throughout.

    The ending made it more thought provoking, if not controversial.

    Big credit to Bill Paxton for not compromising on this given the religious overtones, and worrying about being "politically correct".

    My wife had trouble sleeping after watching this. Not necessarily because it was disturbing (though it is that to an extent) but because it is thought provoking.

    [​IMG]
     
  8. Matt Stone

    Matt Stone Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2000
    Messages:
    9,063
    Likes Received:
    1
    The ending blew me away too. Definitely had me thinking for a while [​IMG]
     
  9. JustinCleveland

    JustinCleveland Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2002
    Messages:
    2,059
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Madison, WI
    Real Name:
    Justin Cleveland
    Interesting movie, though I'm not sure I agree with the conclusions it forces you to draw. The majority of the film seems to be told through the eyes of a skeptic, one who didn't believe. We were told how that character, Fenton, felt about the mess going on. Sure, a brother can empathize, but really now, what about the scenes with Dad and Fenton? We were left to wonder how Adam knew what was going on.

    And the majority of the film bashes Adam and Dad as religious zelots, patrons of an active imagination and an insane culture. It paints a picture of religion as brainwashing and in an incredibly negative light... But at the end, when we find out that Adam and Dad were right, and there really were demons... It flipped the story around and made me realize their actions were still condecending of religion, because they kill in secret, they destroy without salvation, one of the modern tenants of any sect of Judaism and Christianity...

    I am no scholar, but I went to Sunday School and I know there is no grounding in any of the pop-theology that Paxon and co. spout off through the movie. I found it so distracting throughout that I couldn't accept the ending of the film at face value... it seemed like "shock for the sake of shock." It tried to force the suprise ending on me, and I wasn't buying. If they had made the film more fictionalized, setting up a basis for Paxon's insanity (or, as it turned out, reality), I could have bought the twist. But it's like spending an hour saying... look at these crazies, and then at the end showing you that they are right, and the curtain falls.

    My simple reaction, "huh?" Didn't make me think anything more than that the authors had a major grudge and thought the best way to get it out was to make a psuedo-religious film that bashes traditional conventions.

    It was ignored at the BO and is still obscure on DVD... whether good or bad, I shan't say. Not my place. Yet I think it's funny that people complain about a supposedly acurate-to-literature piece like "The Passion," and something that is blasphemous/derogatory fiction is ignored. Interesting double standard.
     
  10. Ricardo C

    Ricardo C Producer

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2002
    Messages:
    5,059
    Likes Received:
    0
    Actually, aside from his more rebellious moments ("I hate your God!"), Fenton was the one acting like one would expect a true Christian to. Would the God we've been taught about demand that we commit murder? Would he demand that Dad get his kids involved? Would he consider the death of the Sheriff to be acceptable collateral damage? I don't know about you, but if my father came to me tomorrow and told me that an angel told him we need to become demon slayers, I'd have him commited. And he'd do the same for me.

    As for the film bashing religion, I just don't see it. It shows one case of one man seemingly losing his mind because of his religious fanaticism, but I didn't see that an indictment of all religion. There are extremists out there with a decidedly skewed take on the Bible. Does those people's positions mean there's something wrong with Christianity, or that there's something wrong with them? I think the latter is true. After all, hundreds of millions base their faith on the same texts, yet the vast majority of them don't share such extremists interpretations of them.

    The film is a story that uses religion as a plot device. It's not meant to be a reflection of the real thing, just a kickass "what if?" tale.
     
  11. Matt Davies

    Matt Davies Auditioning

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2003
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    It was good, but not as good as I thought it would be. The ending was predictable, too.
     
  12. dave_brogli

    dave_brogli Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2002
    Messages:
    1,021
    Likes Received:
    0
    It was great. I loved the ending but the image that keeps in my head is when the little boy runs up to that girl/guy with the axe. sweet
     
  13. Angelo.M

    Angelo.M Producer

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2002
    Messages:
    4,007
    Likes Received:
    0
    I didn't think Frailty was anything special, and I'm a bit surprised at how highly regarded it is around here (well, I could say that about a few other films, including those about elves, dwarves and talking trees, but that's enough of that [​IMG] ).

    That being said, I thought the ending was well-conceived and interesting.
     
  14. JustinCleveland

    JustinCleveland Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2002
    Messages:
    2,059
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Madison, WI
    Real Name:
    Justin Cleveland
    Ricardo,

    I see what you're saying, and I agree that Fenton was acting as the *true* Christian. If I started killing people and saying God told me to... I would agree that I should be committed. Yet I read in the Bible stories of people leading people to walk in the desert for 40 years because God told him to... that seems nuts too. Interesting comparison. I'm not passing judgement at all, I just think its interesting.

    Like I said, I think it's an interesting movie, with a nice twist if you take the movie with a "what if" angle. And, it is a nice way of looking at religion from the perspective of modern-day prophets. We generally look down upon people who say they are sent by God, and this is a way of saying, "what if they were right?"

    But then again, that last bit of Adam touching the cop could have been a hallucination based upon his father's teachings, and his brainwashing into believing that the list of people really was sent by God, and really was of Demons... It's one I enjoyed, but felt generally uncomfortable with.
     
  15. Ravi K

    Ravi K Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2003
    Messages:
    707
    Likes Received:
    0
    I thought the ending was terrific. But seeing the cop in 1970s clothes made me chuckle a little.
     
  16. Stephen_Dar

    Stephen_Dar Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2002
    Messages:
    105
    Likes Received:
    0
    I guess I'll be alone here in saying the ending was lame and completely destroyed for me what had been a bold film up to then. People call the ending thought-provoking? I don't mean to be too harsh here, but do we all know what thought-provoking means? This ending was specifically designed to KILL all thought. Up to then, everything was thought-provoking. Who is this crazy guy, why is he doing this, how is the non-believing son going to deal with this dilemma? Then the ending comes and it says, "Everything you've been thinking and wondering about, throw it away, because there is no mystery to this story at all, it is exactly what it appears to have been." Period, end of story. What's to think about? [​IMG]
     
  17. ChuckSolo

    ChuckSolo Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2003
    Messages:
    1,160
    Likes Received:
    0
    I think that a lot of these posts suffer from "over-analysis" of what the movie was actually trying to be. To me, it was a thriller that wanted to misdirect and paint the actual "bad guy" (Fenton) as the indignant good-guy when in actuallity, Fenton was a demon himself, hence the reason he couldn't see what his Dad and Adam saw. I don't think all the overzealous "religious" analogies fit this movie because it was a Twilight Zone type movie made for entertaining people...pure and simple. BTW - Didn't you just love the name "OTIS" carved into the axe handle. Great wasn't it? The cast was marvelous too.
     
  18. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2000
    Messages:
    8,850
    Likes Received:
    230
    Real Name:
    John
    As was already said, a discussion, sometimes argument, broke out in the screenshot contest about the meaning of Frailty. I have to say I have thought about this movie a fair amount and watched it 3 or 4 times. It may seem strange, but over the last 15 years or more I have had an interest in the general concept of evil and have studied several different philosophies regarding it. I'll point out that I am not what anyone would probably consider to be a religious person, but I am hardly an atheist either. So, I think I have been able to approach Frailty with a pretty open mind.


    So, here is pretty much what I have come up with for myself regarding Frailty, in a nutshell.

    My first reaction to the ending was basically the same as a lot of other people have. That Adam and his father were actually being directed by God to murder demons. Because of that, I was a little surprised that a fairly mainstream movie would be so anti-religious. The problem is, something seemed just plain wrong with that. I don't mean it was a wrong thing to do, but that I wasn't really getting the movie.

    It was either the second or third time I watched it that the thought finally hit me, "so what if the FBI agent was actually a murderer." For one thing, that doesn't mean any of the others were, and even if they were, does that make them "demons" worthy of dying? Probably the greatest annd most common tactic associated with evil that I have seen is misdirection or confusion. Enough truth is mixed in and enough personal benefit is enjoyed to make individuals blindly devoted and not question the wrongs.

    I'll use Hitler as an example. I don't think anyone would disagree that he was an evil man, but in order to fully carry out his potential for evil, he had to do good things in order to gain the blind following he needed. We still benefit from some of the "good" things he did, particularly regarding transportation. For example our Interstate Highways are based on an idea championed by him. I have settled on a similar impression of the force influencing Adam and his father in Frailty.

    There seems to be no doubt that the force influencing Adam and his father "knows" things a normal person can't know. It is also able to guide and protect them in pretty much any way needed in order for the murders to be carried out and for them to get away. Where the dilemma comes is in deciding if this force is divine or not. I think rather strongly that it is not. I think it has picked out a couple susceptible people who are in a weakened state, having lost their wife/mother and are subconsciously searching for some grounding influence. In order to get their blind obedience, it claims to be God, gives them knowledge they could not possibly have otherwise and sets them on a mission that makes them feel strong and unique. The title Frailty seems like a particularly good choice based on that approach.

    So, what about Fenton? Was he being punished by the same force for causing trouble? Could be. Him becoming a mass murderer (supposedly, according to Adam) only reinforced Adam's resolve and belief that he himself is actually doing good.

    I see Frailty in very much the same way as The Rapture, one of my favorite movies of all time. Both of them, to me, warn against blind faith and radical behavior based on it. I am a big fan of regularly questioning my motives, and both oof these films seems to play into that caution very well.

    Someone will probably come in and tell me how things I have said don't make sense, but the problem is that usually comes from plainly practical or just conventional thinking and I am talking about thinking philosophically.


    I have kept all my comments as they apply directly to the film while still fully expressing my points, even though this film is highly charged religiously, so I think I am well within forum guidelines. Maybe it can stand as an example for some of the people who have been doing a lot of griping about the supposedly unreasonable restrictions put on us in this forum.
     
  19. Andy Olivera

    Andy Olivera Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2000
    Messages:
    1,303
    Likes Received:
    0

    And here I am! [​IMG]

    Just kidding. Since you liked the themes presented in Frailty I'd recommend checking out an older film called God Told Me To. The ideas are along the same lines, but it takes a totally different, and much weirder, path to addressing them. It comes out on the 26th and is definitely worth a rental.
     
  20. Ricardo C

    Ricardo C Producer

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2002
    Messages:
    5,059
    Likes Received:
    0
     

Share This Page