Review: Frailty (2001)


Frailty Movie Poster

“Sometimes truth defies reason.”
– Fenton Meiks

Agent Wesley Doyle (Powers Boothe) has been on the hunt for the God’s Hand killer for a while. Nothing seems to make a dent in the hunt, until one night he returns to headquarters, and finds a young man named Fenton Meiks (Matthew McConaughey) waiting for him in his office, claiming to know who the God’ Hand killer is. He claims the murderer is his now-deceased brother, Adam. Naturally, Agent Doyle is very skeptical of the claim, but Fenton insists that he be heard out, that he has proof. Agent Doyle is at Fenton’s mercy, so to speak, and a grotesque tale of a family losing itself to religion unfolds.

Frailty family table

A happy family

Fenton tells the story of his childhood, and his brother, Adam (Jeremy Sumpter), his father, Dad Meiks (Bill Paxton). Young Fenton (Matt O’Leary) was three years older than Adam, and their mother died during childbirth of Adam. He has been the protector and carer for his younger brother, and kept the family together while his father worked to provide for them. Their father, a mechanic, was a good man who tried his best with his sons, and supported them.

Frailty father crazy axe

God’s will commands Dad Meiks

One night, the boys are woken by their father, who claims to have been visited by an angel, an angel who has deemed their family demon hunters, workers of the Lord. Fenton’s mind will not accept this insanity, and he will not buy into it. His world crumbles apart, shattered and broken. His father’s religious fanaticism catches on with his brother, who is convinced that they have been chosen. The Lord points out the weapons required to hunt and kill the demons, and soon their father has a list of demons that need to be killed.

Being sure the madness would end, Fenton flips out when his father brings a woman home and murders her in the shed. Adam seems so accepting, and Fenton voices running away from their father, an idea Adam vehemently objects to, not understanding why Fenton has no faith. Terrified, the boys are on a roller-coaster journey with their father, accomplices in a sick religious delusion of their father that they are on a holy mission to demolish the demons while Judgment Day draws nearer.

Frailty Family

Demon slaying is the family business

Fenton is stuck in a drama from Hell, with no apparent exit, and no way to end the brutality and madness he sees each day, yet unable to leave Adam behind in his escape plan. Desperation drives Fenton to try any and everything to put a stop to his father’s actions. Will their father eventually see the light, or has he lost his brother to this madness, too? Will Fenton ever recover the family that he is sure he has lost? Whose view on the truth is right? Will he ever have the unrelenting and unshaken faith in their mission that his father and brother have?

Frailty garners a 7/10. The movie was definitely a different one. It told a story of how one man’s delusion’s can sink a whole family and tear them apart. The plot twist at the end was not entirely unexpected, but then the other half of it is more intense than what I thought was coming. Overall, not a bad movie, and it was told so well. A distinct chill is left at the conclusion of the movie, due to how crazy the whole notion is, and how a young boy could be so accepting, and how the father expected his young sons to follow his lunacy without question. Murders by the hands of a man doing God’s work is insane, and yet he drags his family in with him. Matthew McConaughey again delivered a great performance, and I thought that young Adam and Fenton were also great. It gives me the creeps to think that a father would  lead his children down such a dark road. I thought it was executed well in the sense that it flowed effortlessly, nothing jagged. Frailty really shows you how much power a parent can have on a child, and how your whole world can have the rug ripped out from beneath your feet before you even know what the heck happened. I was gripped by this movie in a strange an inexplicable way, and I would recommend it for a watch if you have not seen it!