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Frailty

This film looked like it was going to be a project bordering on serious drama; as Bill Paxton's directorial debut, there was a lot of talk around about it being a vanity project with something to say.

Don't be fooled. It's a great story that exists to deliver a sucker punch twist, not make you think about the mentality of Bible belt Americans, child abuse or religious fundamentalism (although it contains all these themes).

Matthew McConaughey stumbles into FBI agent Wesley Doyle's (Powers Boothe) office late one night saying he knows the killer of the Hand of God murders, a series of ritual slaying the police think have been carried out by a religious nut.

Claiming to be the eldest of two brothers - Fenton - he explains how their working class but caring dad (Paxton) awoke one morning to tell them of his angel visitation and anointed mission from God - to rid the world of demons while he and his brother were kids. They have merely to wait until delivered a list of names of people they must track down, kidnap, and bring back to their darkened backyard barn to be destroyed by the God's appointed weapons - including an axe.

While their dad holds younger brother Adam in his sway, Fenton becomes more horrified and determined to do something, until he turns on their Dad once and for all and does him in with the axe.

The twist is clever and while you partly expect one, you'll have to be pretty good to guess it. Convincing Doyle to follow him to the site of the latest killings, Fenton - who then reveals himself to be Adam - shows his true motivation.

As it's revealed, their Dad did see angels and was cleansing the world of demons - Adam himself saw their evil when he laid his hands on them (which Fenton either refused to or simply couldn't do), and for years they did away with child molesters, murderers, adulterers and cheats.

And his story has simply been a ruse to claim his latest victim - Doyle, whose name has appeared on his list, and who we learn murdered his own mother.

It's a neat, satisfying and at the same time unnerving ending, and a great story. Media attention paid to the apparent horror seemed to overshadow that fact, as there's very little gore; most of it implied or off-camera.

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