Sunday, April 14, 2002

Frailty (IMDB) (Netflix)
It'll be interesting to see how this plays in the Bible Belt. Bill Paxton is the father of two young sons, and a Joe Average one at that, until he begins receiving visions telling him to "destroy" demons, who are, of course, actual people. The story is told years later to an FBI agent in a series of flashbacks through the eyes of one of the sons (Matthew McConaughey), who was old enough to know something was very wrong about this deal, but also finds it excruciatingly difficult to stand up to his dad and stop the killing. That dilemma is the heart of the movie, and there's a twist in the ending that'll generate some conversation on how religion is used to justify extreme behavior (not much of that happening these days...). Is Paxton's character totally nuts, or really hearing the word of God?

Although this is Paxton's directorial debut (he's best known as the comic relief in Aliens: "In case you haven't been paying attention to current events, we just got our asses kicked, pal!"), it's a gutsy one, and the writing and performances are uniformly strong (even McConaughey's).