'Frailty': A Sublime and Inventive Tale of Faith, Familial Discord and Profound Psychological Horror
Frailty (2001) is a sublime and inventive psychological horror film starring Matthew McConaughey as Fenton Meiks, a Texas lawman with an extraordinary secret. Visiting upon FBI Agent Wesley Doyle (Powers Boothe) to confess to his brother Adam's role as the infamous "Hand of God" killer, Meiks narrates a serpentine tale of intrigue and deception to the veteran government man.
The storyline follows Meiks' account of an entangled childhood alongside Adam (Matt O'Leary), raised by a widower auto mechanic (Bill Paxton) in small-town Texas. One day their father describes a visitation from an angel with instructions to destroy demons among them, furtively disguised as human beings. The angel provides tools and names of the evil invaders to the father, who expects his sons' compliance in his mission—Adam in full accord while Fenton remains dubious and apprehensive. Meiks' confession to his involvement in an extended series of unsolved murders spurs Doyle to take dramatic action—setting the pair on a desperate quest beset by shocking revelation.
Written by Brent Hanley and directed by Paxton (in a remarkably assured debut behind the camera), Frailty is a darkly evocative tale of psychological intrigue. Hanley and Paxton have crafted an unnerving depiction of faith and familial disunity—underlying a hauntingly ambiguous narrative that carefully tiptoes between madness and divine intervention. Strikingly well-crafted, with an enormous assist from legendary Hollywood cinematographer Bill Butler, it's an indelible viewing experience destined to stay with you long after the final credits have rolled.
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