*** Official "FRAILTY" Review Thread

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Robert Crawford, Apr 12, 2002.

  1. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    This thread is now the Official Review Thread for "Frailty". Please post all HTF member reviews in this thread.
    Any other comments, links to other reviews, or discussion items will be deleted from this thread without warning!
    If you need to discuss those type of issues, I have designated an Official Discussion Thread which can be found at this link.
    Crawdaddy
     
  2. Jay W

    Jay W Supporting Actor

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    Just got back from seeing this, and though I had a feeling this would be one of the better films so far this year I was not expecting the level of work Bill Paxton has put into this piece. Extrodinary on a number of different levels, Fraily is an uncompromising look at the dark nature of society. It has a number of interesting religious connotations I won't go into here, but suffice to say it does work beyond the main plot and characters. I was half-expecting it to fall apart at some stage, but it held together very well. Highly recommended for fans of the genre (or otherwise), will grab you from the start and keep you inside till the end.

    My first **** movie this year.
     
  3. Alex Spindler

    Alex Spindler Producer

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    The best part of the film is how wonderfully consistent it how effectively it tells its story. There isn't a single mistake or contrivance to the movie, and it never breaks out of the world that it creates.
    There is some wonderful work by the young actors in this one, who carry some real weight of the movie on their shoulders. Bill Paxton also deserves a great deal of credit for helping to make the film what it is.
    On the directing side, I was refreshed by the confidence that the story and atmosphere would be enough to enthrall the audience. There were no lazy cliches like the leaping cat or undead killer, but instead a real feeling of dread about where the film was headed.
    The only part of this film that sags is Matthew McConaughey, who just didn't quite 'work' as the narrator. He didn't do a bad job, but he didn't reach anywhere near where the '70s characters got to.
    Those looking for an honestly created thriller/horror film with a great story and excellent performances aren't likely to find better than this.
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  4. Paul Chi

    Paul Chi Stunt Coordinator

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    I just got back from watching this movie and I found it amazing. Bill Paxton did an awesome job, both as a director and actor. The two young kids did amazing job. Indeed this is one of the better films of the year.
     
  5. Dwayne

    Dwayne Supporting Actor

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    Caught a matinee of this with my girlfriend. We both enjoyed it immensely. Some truly creepy moments in this film. The performances were well crafted. The film wastes no valuable screen time and gets underway fairly quickly. Agressive sound heightens the tension in the film.

    I would consider this very re-watchable and for that very reason, I look forward to this film's DVD release.

    Highly recommended.
     
  6. Brad Vautrinot

    Brad Vautrinot Stunt Coordinator

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    Frailty is a grim movie centered on religion-fueled serial killing - but it's much more than that. From the start, when Matthew McConaughey came to FBI headquarters in Texas and started telling the story of how he knew who the God's Hand killer was and offering a narration through a series of flashbacks a la D.O.A., I knew I was hooked.

    Paxton's directing was excellent and kept this movie from becoming confusing and disoriented. He claims the title was in reference to the movie's budget, but it certainly fit into how fragile a family unit is held together in many instances. This segues into what I found most engrossing in the film - the family unit and how circumstances can change it drastically. It was also quite disturbing.

    That there is essentially no gore is to the film's credit and lets the viewer's imagination run amock envisioning the outcome of the axe falling. Matthew McConaughey may have reached his peak and I found his performance excellent. Bill Paxton has given us his best performance here and Frailty should prove to his detractors that he's not some silly bastard but does indeed have serious acting and directing talent. I've always liked Powers Boothe and found him to be an appropriatley no-nonsense FBI agent here. Matthew O'Leary (Fenton) is a young talent to watch in the future. He's good. It was nice to see Paxton give Luke Askew a small part here as the (1979) sheriff. Us old-timers remember Askew as Boss Paul in Cool Hand Luke.

    Frailty is a smart, suspensful film and cudos to Bill Paxton for both his acting and directing. I can highly recommend this movie and it has elements that will stay with you long after seeing it.

    An axe named Otis - you gotta love it.
     
  7. Mark Palermo

    Mark Palermo Second Unit

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    Human rights don't apply to children. That's the disturbance at the heart of Frailty, a garish, delightfully bizarre horror film with the daring to address Western institutional-fascism. The feature directorial debut of actor Bill Paxton (you may have seen his filmmaking in the Barnes & Barnes music video "Fish Heads") never loosens its grip after an early scene of almost surreal insanity. Fenton and his younger brother Adam are awakened by their deeply religious father (Paxton, credited solely as ‘Dad') who informs them that he's been contacted by an angel that's chosen their family of three to kill demons. Adam goes along with it, but Fenton is convinced that Dad has gone crazy. The selected demons look like regular people, and being forced to chop them to pieces in the family shed is, he's convinced, an excuse for Dad to instigate murder. That children are branded troubled when they question the authority forced upon them–parents, school, church–adds credibility to Frailty's portrait of isolation against forces of unreason. Paxton directs with style and wit, too. The cemetery and fog atmosphere is treated with as much morbid passion as the classic Universal horror movies of the 1930s. And the movie's final image of safely governed Americana possesses an unshakeable resonance.

    Rating: A-
     
  8. Scott Weinberg

    Scott Weinberg Lead Actor

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    Though a few of you have already read it (and thanks), I thought I'd post my review here as well. I'm just trying to convince maybe 6 people to go see it. [​IMG]
    Frailty - [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    One of the rare perks of the lurching horror resurgence is that we occasionally get a glimpse at something special. Sure, it may be a brutal chore to sit through all the Urban Legend 2s, Scream 3s, and I am Still Aware of What You Did Six Summers Priors, but if you're not a vigilant horror fan - you'll miss an excellent little movie like Frailty.
    Any movie buff worth his salt knows who Bill Paxton is. To some, he's the whiney-yet-courageous Hudson from Aliens while some fondly remember the actor from Weird Science - as the evil big brother who gets turned into a disgusting green monster. Whether you remember Paxton from those films, Apollo 13, A Simple Plan or a dozen other projects, odds are that he's an actor you've enjoyed - maybe without even realizing who he is!
    Despite my admiration for the actor, I was sure to watch his new flick, Frailty, with an open mind. Paxton's been in his share of turkeys; no actor has a flawless resume. But this time around, we have something unique to look for: Frailty marks the directorial debut of the longtime character actor. (Stalwart children of the 80's may remember a shockingly bizarre music video called Fish Heads. Yes, Bill Paxton directed that!)
    As the movie opens we meet Fenton Mieks (Matthew McConaughey), a mellow yet wild-eyed young man who insists he knows the whereabouts of the FBI's latest quarry: The God's Hand Killer. FBI Agent Wesley Doyle (Powers Boothe) is initially quite skeptical, but Fenton's tale slowly begins to make sense. Mieks claims that his estranged brother is responsible for a series of brutal slayings and that he also has proof.
    Fenton's claims require a detailed explanation of the warped childhood experienced by himself and his younger brother Adam, and this is where Frailty really gets cooking. The bulk of the film takes place in 1979 Texas, where Fenton and Adam are being raised by their good-natured and loving Dad (Bill Paxton). (Mom passed away years ago.) The father and sons live a pleasant, albeit unexceptional, life until one dark night when Dad wakes the boys up with some alarming news.
    As sanely as explaining how to boil an egg, Dad tells his young sons that he has been visited by angel; that the three of them have been blessed with a sacred duty; and that their next step would be to help rid the world of demons. Dad explains all this quite matter-of-factly, and then tells the boys to go back to sleep. Fenton is disturbed by the incident, while young Adam simply takes the news at face value; surely his Daddy could never be wrong about something like this. The older brother holds out hope that Dad's late-night visit was perhaps a beer-inspired aberration, but those hopes are dashed when his father arrives home one night with an axe...and a struggling "demon" in human form.
    I could divulge further details without actually spoiling anything, but in this case, I'd rather not take that chance. Much like other recent horror flicks (The Others and The Sixth Sense), Frailty utilizes a meticulous framework to alternately shield and expose some truly delicious plot twists. Little details that seem innocuous at first take on deeper meaning once the credits start to roll, and the ending offers a sense of surprised satisfaction.
    The twisty (but never tangled) screenplay by first-time screenwriter Brett Hanley full of clever duplicity and realistically-written characters. There are no glaring lapses in plot logic or hastily thrown-in contrivances. Up to (and including) the thought-provoking finale, Hanley's script never once rambles, pontificates, or panders. I don't care what kind of movie you're making; a script like this one deserves high praise indeed.
    As the docile (yet still spooky) Fenton, Matthew McConaughey (Contact) delivers one of his finest performances to date, and Powers Boothe is surprisingly effective as the untrusting Doyle. The two young actors who play Fenton and Adam as children - Matthew O'Leary and Jeremy Sumpter, respectively - are gloriously free of the preciousness or unrealistic worldliness so prevalent in most child performers, and Bill Paxton is simply great as "Dad". It's a truly difficult role, in that Dad has to be seen as perfectly clear-headed, responsible, and logical...even while he's wielding an axe and carrying his "demons" to a brutal death.
    Considering that he's worked for such talented filmmakers as James Cameron, Sam Raimi, Carl Franklin, and Walter Hill, it should come as no surprise that Paxton has picked up some filmmaking skills along the way. What is impressive is how sure-handed Paxton seems behind the camera. The 1979 period design is authentic down to the most minute detail, yet the specifics are never flashed onto the screen as if to scream "LOOK! It's the seventies!" The spooky bits are handled with entertaining aplomb, evidence that Paxton probably learned something new on every horror flick he ever starred in. Regardless of the fact that Paxton has been in over 50 movies, he's still a first-time director, and with Frailty he delivers a 3-run homer his first time to the plate.
    OK, I covered all the basics: plot, tone, actors, writers, director, etc. - All that fancy movie review stuff. But here's the deal: I loved this movie. You could chalk some of my feelings up to my being a big fan of Paxton's, but I'd never gush over a movie just because I like the leading man. Frailty works in a deep, dark, gothic, and joyously hypnotic style - one that's painfully absent from most modern horror flicks. I don't know if Frailty will turn Bill Paxton into an A-list director, but he can rest contentedly with the knowledge that he's made at least one damn fine horror movie, one that easily ranks among the best movies of the year.
     
  9. Edwin Pereyra

    Edwin Pereyra Producer

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    There comes a time when a review of a film becomes more subjective than necessary, especially when a film tackles a subject matter that is personal in nature. This is one of those times.
    Frailty is a well-acted and well-directed film. Bill Paxton was able to tell a story in a very gripping and tense fashion as intended. The film also benefits from a fine performance delivered by a talented cast.
    However, I do have a problem with what ended up as one of the film’s main themes, which is revealed and validated in the film’s final moments. It is a plot twist that is unwelcome, controversial and what can be construed as offensive. Those who have seen the film will know what I’m talking about. Those who haven’t, unfortunately, will have to see it as I am not about to spoil it for everyone else. Up until this point, I did not have any problems with the film and would have called it brilliant.
    In the end, the film takes risks and becomes more than just a horror film. But it is a risk that opens itself up to criticisms. When a film takes this kind of risks and handles a certain topic or figure as fair game, then its filmmakers should expect an equally appropriate criticism from the viewing audience as anything but an unfair response.
    Frailty, so far, is this year’s most disturbing film. There are some that will be offended by it. Others will find it brilliant like I almost did. But in the end, what the film implies is something that I cannot accept. It is just disheartening.
    Frailty rates [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] (out of four), but mostly, for direction and acting merits only.
    ~Edwin
     
  10. Larry Schneider

    Larry Schneider Second Unit

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    I agree. The film is both brilliant and offensive, one of the most emotionally involving that I've seen for a long time with religious ambiguities that really bother me. If you have schizophrenic friends or relatives I'd leave them at home, for sure.
     
  11. Shane Martin

    Shane Martin Producer

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    This is what I would consider one of the creepiest movies I've seen in years. I'd rank it up there as an easy 5 star rating.
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] out of 5.
     
  12. Richard WWW

    Richard WWW Stunt Coordinator

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    Did you people see the same movie I did? Am I just crazy?

    Frailty was the worst movie I've seen in literally YEARS, and as I see a lot of movies, that means I thought it was pretty bad.

    How do I hate it? Let me count the ways:

    1. Bill Paxton is the mayor of Wooden-Acting City. His performance in this film was appalling!

    2. Matthew McConnaghey looked like he was performing his role on Valium.

    3. There were no interesting characters in the film. They were all two-dimensional contrivances, whose actions and reactions defied all logic. Paxton transforms in one night from a respectable father to a serial murderer, WHY??? Because the moonlight catches his bowling trophy at just the right angle, I guess. Or maybe because his wife had died earlier. I don't really know. The film offers no real explanation for the horrors he performs and subjects his children to. Just some really stupid religious/psychological mumbo-jumbo. And there is only a less-than cursory examination of the older son's reactions to his father's deeds.

    4. The dialogue was stupid. At least twenty people other than myself were snickering at various times at lines that weren't supposed to be funny.

    5. The direction of the film was heavy-handed and hammy. You could forgive the hammy direction of the Wachowski Bros in the Matrix, because of the great script and the epic narrative they were creating. But the use of light in Frailty was just over-the-top. Paxton was like a kid in a candy shop, directing his first film, and you could tell. His choices in shooting exhibited just as much wisdom as you would expect a seven-year-old to make if he was given free rein in the proverbial shop of the purveyor of sweets. The sun coming down on the axe and gloves, weapons from God, is just ridiculous, as is the light breaking through the gaps in the shed in which he butchers his first victim.

    6. Who is the sympathetic character in this piece? The children, I guess, though the movie does nothing to try to give us a stake in their survival. The younger son, as an adult, kills himself in the opening frames of the movie, while the older son tells in flashback how the whole horror unfolded, a witness who kept silence for years as however-many murders took place. So who are we rooting for in this film?

    Someone posted that Paxton named the the film Frailty as a reference to the budget he got for his movie. Well, he got more than he should have gotten. They should have given him a hand-held cam and 5 cents. He probably would have still made just a stupid a movie, but at least the public wouldn't have been subjected to the mess!
     
  13. Gerard Priori

    Gerard Priori Stunt Coordinator

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    You're not crazy, Richard. FRAILTY was every bit as awful as you suggest. It was preposterous and predictable. The plot twists were telegraphed and forced. I can't think of anything I liked or admired about this movie--the story, the dialogue, the performances, the direction--all abysmal. And while you're quite right that much of the dialogue is laughable (at the screening I attended, there was also much snickering), the film fails even as camp. It's a shame, too, because I was really looking forward to seeing this one. It got some great reviews, but I couldn't possibly hate this movie more than I do.

    -Jerry
     
  14. Mark Hobbs

    Mark Hobbs Stunt Coordinator

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    First of all, let me say that this movie is awesome! Anyone who doesn't like it is a mouth-breathing moron.

    Seriously, I thoroughly enjoyed this flick. Unfortunately there are very few horror movies that don't resort to the "lazy cliches" mentioned in an earlier review. I just knew at several points that we were about to see one of those cliches, but the film just kept moving the story along, which was very welcome from this viewer. I thought the acting was good, even though Paxton and McConaughey are not two of my favorite actors. The kids were great.

    Good story. Well directed. Best horror film since The Others. It gets an 8/10 from me.

    PS My theory is that some people think about a movie after they have seen it and think it was predictable, even though they couldn't really have predicted it if you stopped the movie and asked them to. I'd like to fill a theater with a bunch of people that are always complaining about how predictable movies are and show half of a movie then stop it and make everyone write out how the story will end. It would be an interesting test. There are always a few of these in any discussion about a movie with a plot twist.
     
  15. DustinDavis

    DustinDavis Stunt Coordinator

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  16. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Members, please honor the following, otherwise I will simply click the delete icon:
    Furthermore, out of respect of those that haven't seen the film, but are reading the reviews for opinions, don't discuss plot lines or scenes in your reviews without spoilers tags.
    Crawdaddy
     
  17. Marty Lockstead

    Marty Lockstead Second Unit

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    I too thought FRAILTY was a great film. Another of the growing examples of the fact that you don't need a large budget or production values to make an entertaining, spooky little film.
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  18. Vanessa

    Vanessa Stunt Coordinator

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    So far, Frailty has been getting either love-it or hate-it reviews. I suppose I'm somewhat in the middle.

    I'm not sure if it was the movie itself, or just my perception of it, but it seemed like Frailty divided itself into two parts. The first section just smacked of a lame TV movie to me and I was checking my watch to see how much longer I would have to endure the pencil sketched characters spouting dialoge that could have come from any PAX-TV movie. But somewhere in the middle, ( I would say around the time that Fenton was locked in the "cellar"
    ) the tone, or my perception of it, changed and Frailty morphed into a much better movie.

    Overall, I think it's still sinking in and my opinion isn't fully formed. There seemed to be some holes and consistancy issues, but it was still better than a lot of the tripe coming out of Hollywood.
     

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