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Changing the past to affect the future may not be a new concept in film, but "Frequency" handles it deftly and with heart. The acting is superb, and as far as I can tell the plot is nearly airtight. It keeps you on your toes as the story twists in what feels like six directions at once and keeps you in emotional sync with the characters. The past/present connections are stirring and intriguing, especially the single-flash cuts at pivotal moments. This is one of the few movies about which I can honestly say, "I laughed, I cried, I was scared stupid." Truly the only good movie so far this year.
You can't help it!! You have to cheer and applaud this movie. I can't remember the last time the whole audience clapped at the end of a movie. It has been such a long time since a movie was made that warmed your heart, while keeping you at the edge of your seat. This movie will make you laugh, get a little misty in the eyes, and you won't even notice the time. You're almost sad to see it end. Dennis Quaid is excellent, this is his best movie in years. This movie also has some new faces you won't soon forget. Don't take my word on this, see it your self. You will be thinking about this movie for weeks.
The plot in Frequency is hard to believe, but the movie's twists, action,
and dramatic moments cover up its uncertainties. The idea of how the past
affects the future is not original, but the rest of the film is.
When I first saw the preview for Frequency, I thought that the idea of a son talking to a his deceased father over a radio was original and interesting. I didn't think, however, that the film would be very good. I was wrong though. The movie is packed with action, mystery, twists, and emotion. The love between the father and son is so real, as are the characters themselves.
Frequency uses remarkable use of film's ability to stretch out moments of time and intercut between different events. And as far as timing goes, this movie has stopwatch-precision. As a result, it can produce tears, outbursts of laughter, or dropping jaws in the audience.
I think the ending of the movie could be improved, but I still highly recommend seeing this film. As long as you don't worry too much about the plausibility of the time-lapse details, you'll enjoy it. After all, it's entertainment in its finest form.
Several films have deal with changing the past and the ensuing effects on
the future. "Back to the Future", "Timecop", and "The Final Countdown"
immediately to mind. Director Gregory Hoblit (his "Fallen" (1998)and
"Primal Fear" (1996) were both excellent) explores that theme again in
"Frequency". But writer Toby Emmerich (in his first writing credit), puts
different spin on the theme. In most 'changing the past' films, a
goes back in time. In "Frequency", one main character lives in 1999 while
another lives in 1969--and you see the actions in 1969 immediately
1999. Sounds confusing, huh? Well, it is. But it works.
The movie opens with the introduction of the Sullivan family. Frank (Dennis Quaid) is a heroic New York firefighter, and escapes a harrowing situation to return home to his wife and his 6-year-old son John. It's an exciting time in New York, as the 'Miracle Mets' have made the World Series. Frank is a ham radio user, and a strange disturbance in the sky (solar flares, I believe. I never took astronomy) in the sky has really increased the range of his radio. "I'm reaching people I've never reached before", he says. Flash forward to 1999, when young John has grown up into a 36-year-old NY homicide detective (James Caviezel) with relational problems (and possibly a drinking problem as well). We learn his father died several years earlier in a warehouse fire, and it's obvious that John has never really gotten over it. He ends up setting up the old ham radio (did I mention that the solar flares are back?), and contacts a fellow New Yorker named Frank. It certainly won't ruin any big surprise when I tell you that it's his father Frank--in 1969. After recovering from his astonishment and convincing his father who he really is (his knowledge of the 1969 World Series proves quite helpful), they begin a series of nightly conversations. Unfortunately, their conversations change the past--and the future--in very dangerous ways. A serial killer who should only have 3 victims suddenly has more, and John must use his knowledge of the crimes (30 years old to him) to guide his dad in a 1969 pursuit of the killer. And the chase is on. Will they stop the killer? Will the solar flares last long enough for them to finish their plan? Will anyone in 1999 or 1969 believe them?
That lengthy 'plot summary' really didn't ruin any of the suspense--or come close to explaining the whole story. So, it goes without saying that the story is pretty convoluted and involved. But it's not hard to follow, and the movie grabbed me and kept me interested throughout. Granted, you will need to use a serious amount of 'suspension of disbelief'. If you get hung up on "there's no way they could be talking to each other" or "changes in the past wouldn't immediately appear in the future--they would have already happened and would have been there all along", you'll do 2 things: (1) you'll give yourself a headache, and (2) you'll miss out on a very entertaining film. The reason I gave this more stars than last week's "U-571"? I cared about the characters, and I found "Frequency" much more entertaining. Also, the story was quite original--with great use of the Miracle Mets and the 1969 World Series throughout.
Speaking of the characters--Quaid and Caviezel both do great work. Their conversations via radio are very touching and authentic (once you accept the general premise, of course). Although Quaid is a 'movie star', don't let that fool you--he's a very good (and probably underrated) actor. Just watch him as Doc Holliday in "Wyatt Earp" (1994), Remy McSwain in "The Big Easy" (1987), or Gordo Cooper in "The Right Stuff" (1983) if you don't believe me. And Caviezel's a real up-and-comer (1998's "The Thin Red Line"). He does a great job as a grieving son who is reunited (in a way) with his father, but watches his joy dissipate in the face of the mess he's created. He also believably portrays a character who has memories of the way things were, but is now bombarded with 'new' memories of the way things have become. The other characters are definitely secondary, but Elizabeth Mitchell as wife/mom Julia, and Andre Braugher (TV's "Homicide", 1998's "City of Angels", and 1989's "Glory") as Frank's policeman friend Satch are both solid.
This film has some decent action/suspense scenes, and 1999 John's radio conversation with his buddy Gordo (in 1969) is very funny. There have certainly been better action/suspense/serial killer movies (the action scenes weren't amazing, the story has some holes, and I thought the ending was a little cheesy), but the heart of the film is the relationship between Frank and John. I bought into that relationship fully, and that's why I liked this film as much as I did. And that's why I definitely recommend seeing "Frequency".
The idea of this film is pretty original; I don't think I've ever heard of a story so well-thought out about time-travel/alternate time-lines before. The idea is based on the main character being able to communicate with his father, who's been dead for 30 years. His father hears it then, 30 years earlier. They quickly do some things that shouldn't have happened back then, which then changes the future(or present). The movie deals very well with how they change the future back and forth. The plot is very good, the acting is superb and the characters are all believable. The special effects are very good. The very idea behind the film is very good, but the way it develops so much further is amazing. The ending, while it may seem corny too some, and is, by all means, a bit of a typical Hollywood ending(some might even call it a cop-out), but personally I just think it worked better than anything else could have. I'd recommend this to pretty much anyone who can watch a movie where they have to suspend disbelief, but especially anyone into time-travel or alternate time-lines, as this is, in my opinion, one of the best movies made, concerning this subject. 8/10
This unique and interesting film is actually more of a suspense thriller
than a science fiction, although I think fans of both genres will be
Dennis Quaid plays a heroic firefighter who was killed trying to rescue a runaway from a burning warehouse during the days of the Amazing Mets' World Series victory in October 1969. Jim Caviezel ("The Thin Red Line") plays his son, now a cop, thirty years later. Through some quirk of physics involving abnormal solar activity and the Aurora Borealis, the two make contact with each other across the 30-year span over a ham radio. The son is able to prevent his father's death, but changing the past also turns out to have unexpected consequences with which the two must deal.
The film really works on all levels with good action sequences and suspense, a nice dose of humor and some very touching exchanges between father and son. It explores the "what if" scenario of one's being presented with the opportunity to change an event in the past and the way in which those affected must deal with the consequences in a very intelligent and thought-provoking manner.
The acting is uniformly strong, with Quaid very appealing as the courageous firefighter and loving father who has an almost-childlike love for baseball (he even pulls off a Brooklyn accent nicely!); Caviezel is equally good as the present day version of Quaid's character's son. Caviezel brings a subtle sadness to the character, a quality one might expect from someone whose life hasn't quite worked out quite as well as it might have, possibly due to a void created by the absence of his father. One of the strongest aspects of Caviezel's performance was a subtle shift in personality following the changing of events in the past (a change which left him with memories both of his father's death and of time spent with his father in the intervening years).
I have a good feeling about this film and think it has a chance to be a real surprise hit. It's certainly one of the best films of the year thus far.
Wow, what a suspenseful film! This is a combination crime and fantasy
story, a time-travel theme employed as a son is able to talk to his
father 30 years in the past and help change history for the better.
Far-fetched? Oh, of course, but it's not meant to be taken seriously as
something that could happen. Like "Field Of Dreams," it's pure fantasy
but a nice father-and-son vehicle that makes you - or at least it did
me - bring a tear or two to your eyes.
The young guy is played by Jim Caviel and his dad is played by Dennis Quaid. Both are excellent and likable guys, as they usually are in the films they play. They talk to each other through an old ham radio. Through it, the son helps save his dad and mom's life on a few occasions and catch a serial-killer in the process. Well, you have to see it because explaining it just makes it sound silly. It's not; it's a fine movie and great escapist entertainment. Once you get into this story, it is impossible to put down. For New York City folks, and fans of the New York Mets, I would imagine this movie has added sentimentality.
An excellent movie, what a pleasant surprise. I can't remember the last time I was in a movie where the audience applauded at the end, and at scenes during the movie, too. It could be called a thriller, but that's just a part of what the movie was about. It was filled with well placed sentimentality and timely humor. Not a moment in the movie was there a wasted scene or a time when I lost interest. Yes, a Hollywood ending, but like most good things, it's the journey not the destination that makes it worth while. I saw it at a sneak preview, and I will go see it again in general release. I highly recommend it. It's not an epic, but it is the best movie I've seen in years.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Going into this film I had no idea what the true story line was. Is it a
time travel film, is it a sci-fi film or is it a murder mystery? Well it's
little of each of these. Put behind you images of flying Delorians
traversing through time and just let the film soak you in it's original
story of what if. What if you could change history and bring back the ones
you lost long ago. What if that power came with a price. Is it better to
leave things as is or if given the chance to change the world you live in
would you? These questions and more rise in this film that ask, would you,
could you, should you.
Dennis Quaid, in one of his best roles, is a fire fighter from New York in
1969. His hobby is ham radio when not rescuing people from near death in
line of duty. His son John is just a child and dreams of being a baseball
player when he grows up. But in the realities of life somethings were not
meant to be. John grows up and becomes a police officer working on the
homicide squad in 1999, and his father never made it out of a burning
building in 1969. On October 10th 1969 sun spots rise up the day before
fatal day in the warehouse. 30 years later the same event happens on the
same day in 1999. John finds his fathers radio and begins to play with it
and finds a man who seems to have the same call letters and last name. The
sun spots allow his radio waves to traverse 30 years into the past to his
father. He can save his life with the knowledge of the future and have him
back in the present. This comes at a deadly price for in 1969 there is a
serial killer who preys on nurses. Johns mother is a nurse. Together John
and his father must stop this killer from taking more lives in a game of
and mouse that unfolds, reverses, and progresses over the 30 year gap.
Memories disappear and new ones open in there place, people survive and
others die. All this leads to a fantastic final battle of old and new.
This really is a film not to be missed. Fans of thrillers, sci-fi and action will all be pleased with this film.
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.
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