In October 1969, while his beloved New York Mets play in the World Series, firefighter Frank Sullivan (Dennis Quaid) is hard at work. He's a devoted husband to his wife Julia (Elizabeth Mitchell) and father to his son Johnny. Three decades later, John Sullivan (Jim Caviezel) is a cop whose life is going nowhere. As the 30th anniversary of his father's death in a warehouse fire approaches, he finds Frank's old ham radio set. He starts playing around with it as the most powerful sunspots in decades light up the aurora borealis. To his surprise, he finds someone to talk to - his dead father.
"The concept behind Frequency is brilliant. The idea that time may not be linear; that it might be a much more fluid state which can be manipulated has fascinated scientists. Indeed, it's a similar idea to Einstein's theory of relativity. It's also fascinated sci-fi writers from Jules Verne to the creators of The Twilight Zone. The very thought of it challenges our conventional view of the universe.
The problem is that in the hands of scriptwriters, the concept often becomes distorted, muddled and misused; and that's certainly the case here. After a really intriguing set up, Frequency proceeds to flounder around as a conventional cop drama. The melding of the sci-fi and drama elements is less than successful, with plenty of plot holes and incongruities. It also goes for a cheap "happy" ending which actually raises a lot more questions than it answers.
On the plus side, it looks great and there are some quite inventive touches, especially in the early stages. Dennis Quaid brings solidity and credibility to the central role of Frank; but it isn't that much different from many other parts he's played over the years. Jim Caviezel tries really hard with his role, but as the plot discrepancies start to mount, his character fades into the background and his talent is wasted to some extent. Elizabeth Mitchell, however, makes the most of her limited screen time.
Despite its appealing premise, Frequency squanders a lot of opportunities to explore that premise more deeply, electing time and again for the prosaic over the challenging option."
"One of the highlights of this year's Melbourne Film Festival was Raul Ruiz's Time Regained, adapted from the work of Marcel Proust. Maybe it's just because I saw the two films close together, but I kept thinking that Time Regained would make a great alternate title for Frequency: both films are possessed by the notion of cinema as a virtual time machine, bringing the past into direct contact with the present. Ingeniously, Frequency uses sound as a way of bridging this gap: the magic CB radio that unites father and son is like an extension of standard cinematic sound editing, where sounds tied to one scene are often allowed to bleed through into the start of the next. One stunning sequence edits together 'simultaneous' happenings in two separate timeframes, so that sounds from thirty years apart overlap and become hard to separate; eventually the image starts to warp as past and present mutually transform each other, suggesting that reality is experiencing a jammed signal. ! It's a shame that after a poetic first half, the film ruins its intimate, Sixth Sense-like story of male sadness with a stupid plot about a serial killer. Still, the sadness remains. The film may embrace that dream of returning to and transforming the past, so that everything finally turns out for the best; yet simultaneously, as the image slides into magical slow motion, it seems to acknowledge that dream as a desperate, hopeless fantasy."
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CAST: Dennis Quaid, James Caviezel, Shawn Doyle, Elizabeth Mitchell, André Braugher
PRODUCERS: Bill Carraro, Toby Emmerich, Gregory Hoblit
DIRECTOR: Gregory Hoblit
SCRIPT: Toby Emmerich
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Alar Kivilo
EDITOR: David Rosenbloom
MUSIC: Michael Kamen
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Paul Eads
RUNNING TIME: 118 min
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: August 3, 2000
VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow
VIDEO RELEASE: January 23, 2001