Frequency (2000) / Sci Fi-Thriller
MPAA Rated: PG-13 for intense violence and disturbing images
Running Time: 118 min.
Cast: Dennis Quaid, Shawn Doyle, Elizabeth Mitchell, Andre Braugher
Director: Gregory Hoblit
Screenplay: Toby Emmerich
Review published October 25, 2000
FREQUENCY is a sleeper thriller, and one of the better surprises of 2000 that only a small amount of people went to see. This one has the Aurora Borealis phenomenon occurring in the same area during the same period thirty years apart, 1969 and 1999. A 36-year-old police officer finds his long deceased fireman father's ham radio, and while playing around with it, through the weird Auroras, he communicates with a man in his area that turns out to be his long-lost father, mere days before he is killed in a fire. His son provides vital information that saves his father's life, but due to his father surviving, his mother dies sometime later at the hands of a sadistic serial killer. Now it's up to the son and father to put the pieces of the unsolved murder together to save the life of mother and wife.
One of my main problems with time travel plots is the headache involved in guessing how events radically change the future. Here the task would seem formidable since we see both time periods playing out at the same time, and furthermore, involves a family where the main character is in both. Luckily, the film ditches most attempts at trying to explain anything by setting up the characters and plot so there's a minimum of reflection of the absurdity of it all. Quaid and Doyle give terrific performances and Hoblit's direction is right on for the material. FREQUENCY is smart and very entertaining, and one of the best thrillers of the year.
©2000 Vince Leo