Frequency

dir Gregory Hoblit scr Toby Emmerich
with Dennis Quaid, Jim Caviezel, Andre Braugher, Noah Emmerich, Shawn Doyle, Elizabeth Mitchell, Melissa Errico, Daniel Henson, Jordan Bridges, Stephen Joffe, Jack McCormack, Peter MacNeill
NewLine 00/US 2 out of 5 stars


Review by Rich Cline
Now here's an intriguing hybrid: heartwarming father-son drama meets time-travel murder thriller. As a result, Frequency is fascinating enough to hold our interest, even as it drifts away from its early promise and tries just a bit too hard to bring all of the plot threads to a happy, tidy conclusion. But then, believability isn't an issue here.

John (Caviezel) is a New York cop whose girlfriend (Errico) has just left him. At age 36 he still lives with his mother (Mitchell) and the memories of his firefighter father Frank (Quaid), who died 30 years earlier. Then while playing with an old ham radio, John in '99 is suddenly speaking to Frank in '69. Just days before his death. But it's a slippery slope. Altering one event changes something else, and soon father and son are working frantically to not only straighten things out, but to solve John's current murder case, which dates back to, you guessed it, 1969.

Hoblit handles the story marvellously, cross-cutting back and forth between the time periods without ever losing the viewer, and creating some terrifically scary and exciting sequences. The visual tricks are fantastic--using both clever effects and simple editing. The makeup is understated and effectively aging the characters 30 years back and forth. Quaid and Caviezel are excellent as usual, holding the film's centre nicely in place. And the story's complications keep us guessing and wondering about the implications of time travel, even if the explanation here is a bit silly. The problems begin as the story progresses ... the mystery starts to get corny and the father-son stuff raises the syrup level to near-fatal levels. And despite the high production values, the story unravels into something far less sophisticated or clever than it wants to be.

[15--themes, language] 9.Jun.00
US release 28.Apr.00; UK release 16.Jun.00

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2000 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall

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