This is a real 'What If?' movie. What if you could communicate with someone in the past? What if you told them what their future held? What if they used that knowledge to alter their destiny? What if it altered yours, too? What if you are the only person who remembers the 'true' past?
This is the complex premise behind Frequency, a great idea that has seemingly endless possibilities! Unfortunately, that complex premise attempts to disguise an extremely predictable story. There are absolutely no surprises in this movie. Every scene is on a one-way track from the beginning to the end, with no turns or twists that aren't telegraphed far in advance. The writers must have come up with the idea while watching the film Contact, but then couldn't think of anything better to write!
The best scenes in the film revolve around the developing relationship between the father (Quaid) and son (Caviezel), brought about solely through their communication with one another via ham-radio. Although I must admit that some came across with the originality of a long-distance phone commercial, they were the most heartfelt moments of the film. Once the thriller aspects of the plot dealing with trying to stop a serial killer kicked in, that sincerity was all but lost until the end of the movie.
The directing was okay, in a 'television-drama-of-the-week' way, as was the acting. There wasn't much in the way of special effects, aside from the opening sequence and some firefighting scenes. I won't even get into all the time-paradox problems that the story creates and doesn't deal with. There's a lot of the old "If you go back in time and kill your grandfather before your father is born, then you would never have existed - but if you never existed, then you couldn't have gone back in time to kill your grandfather, so..." - - - In stories that involve travelling in time or altering history, paradoxes are unavoidable, so it's best to just ignore them.
I kept thinking how many directions this movie could have taken. What if they had done another re-write on the script? What if more exciting things had happened? What if Spielberg had directed it? What if there were a funny computer-generated sidekick for comic relief? Okay, maybe that's pushing it, but then I did say that this is a real 'What If?' movie.
So, if you are good at figuring out how mysteries and thrillers end, then you won't get much out of Frequency. If you aren't, then see Frequency. It's a great way to learn!
Directed By: Gregory Hoblit
Starring: Dennis Quaid, Jim Caviezel, Noah Emmerich
Rated: PG (Violence)
Running Time: 117 Min.
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