Frailty

Bomb Rating: 

When a movie cheats like this to hide a surprise, it's a sign the director is more interested in springing a can of party snakes on the audience in the final two minutes than in the integrity of a story.

I'm getting a little worn out by films which play visual tricks on the audience and then reveal some surprise at the end which is essentially inconsistent, not with the way the story is being shown, but in the way it is being told. Some characters know secrets that other characters do not know while the audience, which supposedly has the omniscient view, is kept from certain facts. This happens in three films I've seen recently: "High Crimes," "Murder by Numbers," and this one. If the point of view in a film is consistent, then I don't have to think about it. If the film isn't running some kind of scam, I don't think about point of view at all. Just tell a story, for Christ's sake.

I think back to "Seven" and the secret of the box. David Fincher only allowed us to see what Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman saw, not what Kevin Spacey saw. Thus, like Pitt and Freeman, we didn't know what was in the box. When a movie cheats like this to hide a surprise, it's a sign the director is more interested in springing a can of party snakes on the audience in the final two minutes than in the integrity of a story.

In this film, Fenton Meiks (Matthew McConaughey) walks into an FBI office and reveals to the agent-in-charge, Wesley Doyle (Powers Boothe), that he knows the identity of the God's Hands serial killer. He then proceeds to tell this long story about his father (Bill Paxton) and how dad turned into a nutcase when young Fenton (Matthew O'Leary) and his brother Adam (Jeremy Sumpter) were just kids. Dad claimed he could see demons and it was his and his children's duty to kill these demons. Fenton never bought this whole story from dad and always considered him a murderer.

Eventually, Fenton takes Doyle to the place where the bodies are buried. Why exactly FBI agents go alone to places with spooky people they've never met before is a mystery. How about calling for backup? How about taking like, oh, 20 other agents with you? Let's see: weird guy, weird story, bodies buried all over the place. Say, I think I'll walk this guy out there by myself. I mean, what's the worst that could happen?

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