Movie Review by Nigel A. Messenger
Starring: Dennis Quaid, James Caviezel
Director: Gregory Hoblit
On June 6th 2000 the sun emitted a massive plasma discharge. Picked up by NASA space weather satellite monitoring station, I received an e-mail alert (I’m on their space science news mailing list) that this would cause visible Aurora Borealis, otherwise known as ‘Northern Lights’. Such phenomena can cause unusual effects on radio and television signals broadcast on Earth. This is real life, the above events happen when material is discharged from the Sun.
This is also the premise upon which the movie FREQUENCY in based. Taken to the extreme similar events occur in FREQUENCY only instead of causing interference and radio signals being carried further round the globe than is normal, in the film, radio signals carry through time and enable communication between a New York police detective (Jim Caviezel) in the present and a New York fire officer (Denis Quaid) 30 years in the past through use of a ham radio.
As it transpires, the two men soon recognise each other as father and son, a father who died however in a fire rescue 30 years ago, and who now, armed with his son’s knowledge of these past events, is able to save himself, and in so doing alters history. Events follow that ‘the supposed to have died’ man’s character now becomes involved in and consequently alters the time line, so endangering the lives of others who would have otherwise survived.
While these new events are now taking place in the past an ongoing investigation of a serial killer in which his son the police detective is involved in the present, suddenly claims more lives as more people are now victims of the serial killer than in the original timeline. To make matters worse in the present the police detective is the only person who can recall both timelines and has to constantly adjust to new memories due to the changes in history.
Together, both father and son, there characters separated by 30 years, must try to save these new victims of the serial killer, with their ability to communicate limited only to a single ham radio and window in time, temporarily open only while the effects of the ‘Northern Lights last’.
FREQUENCY is a cleverly put together film combining science fiction with a tense edge of your seat murder/thriller. You can’t predict the final outcome at the beginning the movie, but you can constantly anticipate what’s going to happen a couple of minutes before it actually does. It is also a story of a family whose close relationships and trust help them through dramatic events in their lives. The films failing is that it is too emotive, and to this end one cannot help but feel slightly depressed as the audience emotions are played with too much, almost in the way some soap operas can be overly dramatic.
Given that the film is well acted with Denis Quaid and Jim Caviezel, their performances carrying the movie. Don’t be late for the start as the opening scenes are particularly well filmed and listen and watch carefully as the plot unfolds revealing the storyline and setting the mood and feel for this unusual sci-fi.