Frailty is especially difficult to pin down for a film that feels like just another kooky thriller with a trick pony up its sleeve. Dad (Bill Paxton) sees the light and believes God is commanding him to kill demons. Though little Adam (Jeremy Sumpter) is a believer from the start, eldest lamb Fenton (Matthew O’Leary) thinks Dad has gone the way of the crazy Christian. The doubting boy refuses to pray and, in turn, is forced to dig graves for his daddy’s victims; all the while, Adam hopes that his naïve brother will find his way back to the unpromised land. Frailty wears its point on its sleeve: one Christian’s demon is another person’s human being. Yet there’s something more at play here than who’s-the-killer and who’s-killing-who. Paxon’s performance is certainly an eerie one and his direction is surprisingly restrained. And while Frailty itself is less-than-scary, there’s something to be said about a film that plays out like a big-screen spin-off of The Simpsons starring Ned, Rod and Todd Flanders. Brent Hanley’s screenplay is a strategic moral achievement of sorts in that it caters to Christians and atheists alike. His take on faith-mongering is trashy yet evenhanded: yes, Christians are scary but they might not be as crazy as they seem. Frailty’s present-day scenes are relatively weightless though there’s no denying the tongue-in-cheek fervor of Paxon’s retro Christian circus act. Let us pray.
- Bill Paxton
- Brent Hanley
- Bill Paxton, Matthew McConaughey, Powers Boothe, Matthew O'Leary, Jeremy Sumpter, Luke Askew, Derk Cheetwood, Blake King, Scott Adsit, Brad Berryhill, Chelsea Butler, Vincent Chase, Missy Crider, Alan Davidsen
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