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Fenton Meiks approaches FBI agent Wesley Doyle to confess his disturbed family's role in a series of murders. His long-tormented conscience unleashes a twisted tale of his father's crazed and abusive behavior and his younger brother's blind complicity. The film mainly consists of Fenton's childhood flashbacks. From the moment the running time begins, it's already entertaining. However, the tension only increases as time builds. The screenplay written by Brent Hanley is rather good. Throughout the film, the audience will begin to question whether or not statements made by Fenton's father are true or not. Each character develops a good amount of depth, resulting in viewers either trusting characters or despising them. Once you begin watching Frailty, you won't be able to get up without finishing it. The ending is sure to stir up discussion. The opinions of some will find it to be a clever ending composed very well. Others will find it to be disappointing and that it didn't go in the direction they would have preferred. Early in the film, the plot events are very unpredictable, although that changes through the course of the film. Too much information is given at times that reveals the final twist. I feel that the final twist of the film works. The other components of the film fall into place like puzzle pieces with the script. This is surely the sign of a well-written screenplay.
While Bill Paxton makes his debut behind the camera, he still has a role in the film. He performs as the father and does a fine job. Matthew McConaughey delivers a good performance. He hasn't stood out to me very much in previous films, but he does well here. Matt O'Leary is sufficient as young Fenton. There aren't very many great child actors around in the film industry, but O'Leary is very believable in his role. There aren't any groundbreaking performances, but this small cast works well together.
Considering the plot, the film doesn't call for a large budget. The money that was provided to the filmmakers was used properly. Camera work is decent enough. There is one scene of Fenton's father working and his vision distorts the bottom side of the car into a church as an angel appears. Despite the low budget, Frailty still has some interesting visuals.
There are moments such as the ending that are sure to split audiences. However, one cannot deny that Bill Paxton has delivered his first film behind the camera successfully. The screenplay is good and the acting shows the same results. Visuals are pretty good, considering the budget. There are clearly some cons in Frailty, but the pros outnumber them. Some audiences may mistakingly identify this film as a horror flick. Don't be deceived. This is a drama/thriller and an easy recommendation.