25 May 2000 | Movie-12
A complex, thought provoking thriller that is well acted and directed. ***1/2 out of ****.
FREQUENCY / (2000) ***1/2
It' 1999. Jim Caviezel stars as John Sullivan, a detective whose life is falling apart. Recently, he has split up from his girlfriend, he and his police partner Satch (Andre Braugher), are unable to solve a serial murder case that has been reopened due to the discovery of skeletal remains of a past victim. The thirty year anniversary of the death of his firefighter father (Dennis Quaid), is also approaching. John is beginning to sink in a pit of despair.
One night John stumbles upon his dad's old ham radio. He makes an effort to get the machine to power up once again. When he does and begins conversations with another operator, however, he realizes the person he is communicating with is his long dead father. Somehow, due to the presence of the Northern Lights, John is able to transmit back in time to 1969 and literally alter the course of his existence.
The concept of time traveling communication may seem far-fetched to some, and "Frequency" is a little hard to grasp at times, especially when the film never directly explains why the father and son are able to talk with each other through time. Notwithstanding, the production works as a science fiction thriller with supernatural overtones. While the filmmakers do succeed in convincingly constructing "Frequency," most audiences might have to leave logic at the theater entrance before viewing it.
"Frequency" is a well-structured motion picture; the movie is focused throughout. Although its story changes pace at different periods, for the most part the audience can follow along with the characters. This is a movie with a complicated and challenging story. Because of the film's complexity, we are enormously involved, if slightly confused. Screenwriter Tobias Emmerich links original and fresh feeling material here. Gregory Hoblit produces the right amount of action and suspense, combined with gentle emotions, to generate a film we have not seen before.
Dennis Quaid and James Caviezel are the perfect choices for the principal characters. Quaid performs with intriguing tension and appropriate receptivity. Caviezel dazzles with intricacy and dexterity. Offering refined supporting roles are Andre Braugher ("City of Angels", "Get on the Bus") and Noah Emmerich ("The Truman Show") who furnishes some light-hearted material as John's best friend.
Director Gregory Hoblit ("Fallen," "Primal Fear") clearly executes topics on screen. This film is overflowing with ideas and contains enough plot for a television series. However, "Frequency" is not without flaws. Sullivan's chaotic life is only vaguely portrayed. Although we do care for the character, more development would increase the relationship between the audience and he. Some of the make-up effects depicting age differences were disgraceful. Andre Braugher appeared as if his make up artists were straight out of junior high, slapping too much pancake cream plaster on him. The film's contrived climax concludes with a formalistic fight instead of continuing its battle of wits.
Despite a few unacceptable external problems, internally this is a very effective production. As a whole, "Frequency" contains a very encompassing story and places interesting characters in engaging circumstances. The movie is definitely worthy of recognition, but do not view it unless you plan on thoroughly discussing it afterwards.