Frequency (2000)

I loved this movie when I first wrote this review, and I still love it.  It’s just a wonderful tale that still gets me a bit misty-eyed.

When this movie first came out, all those years ago, I wasn’t the wizened movie critic that I am today. I wasn’t even that great of a movie watcher, pretty much watching and buying and renting all sorts of garbage without really being able to tell the difference between awesome and average. Telling the truth here, I wasn’t even that interested in some firefighter Dennis Quaid movie because Dennis Quaid has never been cool and firefighter movies just didn’t interest me. I’m not even entirely certain how I came into possession of this movie for the first time that I watched it, but boy am I glad that I did.

Directed by Gregory Hoblit and written by Toby Emmerich, Frequency takes place in 1969 … and 1999, at the same time. “Whoa,” you might be saying, “Firefighting and some sort of vaguely inferred time travel? If there are some fighting ninja monkeys it might be the coolest movie ever.” Well, you probably didn’t say that and you probably didn’t even come close to thinking that, and even though that clearly proves that I have no idea what goes on in some people’s heads, I still know what an excellent movie is. Frequency is probably one of the most emotionally involving time travel movies ever made (don’t harp on me about it not being actual time travel, you find a phrase that accurately describes it), and another one of those movies that I think accurately depicts what would happen if time travel/alterations were actually possible.

John Sullivan (Jim Caviezel) is a New York City homicide cop who’s living pretty much a shitty life. He’s been raised by his mother (Elizabeth Mitchell) since the death of his father, Frank (Quaid), thirty years ago in a firefighting tragedy. Ever since then his life has pretty much been going downhill on the personal side, though he still occasionally hangs out with his childhood friend Gordo (Noah Emmerich). One night Gordo and his kid (Michael Cera) come over and get into the trunk belonging to the late Frank Sullivan, finding an ancient ham radio. Turns out there’s an amazing phenomenon happening in both 1969 and 1999, that being the aurora borealis showing up in the skies of NYC. For some reason, this allows John to communicate with his father thirty years prior, which ends up opening up many a metaphysical can of worms in regards to paradox, the alteration of the past affecting the future, and so on.

To the credit of the writer Emmerich, the story never gets bogged down in exploring the science of this amazing phenomenon, just in exploring the possibilities of John saving the life of his father, thirty years in the past. For me the story was so engaging and touching that I just stopped trying to find holes in the time travelling knowledge and just immersed myself in the wonder of the tale. Caviezel might not be the most charismatic lead actor ever, but he’s got something that keeps you watching. Quaid is excellent in his performance, capturing the disbelief and eventual acceptance of this impossible event absolutely perfectly.

The film looks gorgeous to boot, with the amazing firefighting scenes and the different NYC eras being captured excellently. There’s nothing in this movie that I can think of that isn’t top quality. It’s a somewhat forgotten movie, but definitely one you should go out of your way to watch. If the intense father and son relationship doesn’t pull your heartstrings, I will have no choice but to assume that you are dead inside. I don’t even like my father, and this story got me all touched and stuff. Just an amazingly well-made and enjoyable movie.

5 / 5

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About SkoochXC
Long-time blogger, Canadian, cine-snark-aphile, Tweeter and generally lonely hearted guy.

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