Dennis Quaid, Jim Caviezel, Andre Braugher, Elizabeth Mitchell
2000, 117 Minutes, Directed by: Gregory Hoblit
Really two different--though inextricably linked--movies. First, the
emotional drama of a father and son reunited after 30 years of separation.
Then there's a science fiction thriller, in which a couple of chance solar
storms, occurring exactly 30 years apart, can provide the agency through
which the father and son can communicate using the very same ham radio in
parallel time frames of 1969 and 1999. The son is John Sullivan (Jim
Caviezel), a cop, and his father is Frank (Dennis Quaid), a firefighter
who died on the job when John was 6, which just happens to be tomorrow for
Frank when he and his now-adult son begin talking across time. This is
great for John, because now he can warn his dad about the upcoming fire
and avert the catastrophe that left him fatherless for most of his life.
Accomplishing this gives John new memories of his life with Dad, but
unfortunately alters the course of a serial killer, with tragic effect on
John's family history. Since John's a cop, and the case he's working on
turns out to be the same unsolved case from 30 years before, he and his
father work together over the ham radio to solve the case and hopefully
avert the tragedy that befell their family.
the best time travel stories (like Back to the Future
and Terminator 2: Judgment Day) falls apart when
one applies any amount of logic to them. Frequency is no exception.
It is one of those movies that in order to enjoy one should put one's critical
facilities into neutral while watching it.
Okay, so Frequency isn't strictly a time travel story. But it
comes pretty close: a cop accidentally finds a way to communicate through
time via ham radio with his dead father (a fireman) in the late 'Sixties.
Obviously events in the past change as they exchange information. I mean
wouldn't you also try to save a loved one from dying (in this case in
a fire in an abandoned warehouse) if you could somehow alter the past?
Obviously these changes affects the present as well.
its heart Frequency is similar to the concept of sending a machine
to kill your enemy's mother before he is even born. But if you do
manage to change the past by killing off your enemy and he is no longer
around to cause you any problems, then that you means that won't have
the desire to send off a machine to the past to kill an enemy that
never existed. That means that your enemy does exist and you
simply couldn't change the past. And so forth. This sort of circular logic
befuddles Frequency completely.
While Frequency would like itself to be mentioned in the same
breath as The Sixth Sense, it isn't anywhere as clever. In fact,
once Frequency establishes its own logic its eventual outcome is
easy to guess at and the "surprise" ending seems more contrived than anything
else does. Despite this, Frequency is more intelligent and clever
than most of this year's sci-fi efforts (which isn't difficult, considering
that this year's output consists of the likes of
Mission to Mars and Battlefield Earth)
and worth watching if you happen to enjoy time travel stories.