By Steve Vivona
New Line, Widescreen
It was hard for me not to love "Frequency." As someone whose roots stretch back to the borough of Queens, and whose father taught him to love baseball and more importantly, the Amazin' Mets, this film was going to have to go far to alienate me. I'm also intrigued by any film that deals with the subject of time travel, and this one managed to finally put a new spin on this tired old subject.
"Frequency" asks the question, "What if you could change the past? And in doing so what would the consequences be?" This film is fantasy to be sure, but it deals with the questions intelligently and (within the framework of fantasy) believably.
John Sullivan (Jim Cavieziel) is a New York City cop whose life is a mess. His girlfriend has had it with him, he drinks too much and he misses the father he lost thirty years ago. Frank Sullivan (Dennis Quaid) died heroically in October of 1969 fighting a warehouse fire and trying to save lives. His life's blood was baseball and he was ecstatic that the bottom dwelling New York Mets had finally made the series. He wouldn't live to see his team pull off one of the greatest upsets in World Series history.
Thirty years later John pulls out his father's old ham radio at the behest of his friend's young son. Later that night he turns it on and he hears a voice that is vaguely familiar. He strikes up a conversation with this man who, it turns out, is also from Queens and is a Met fan. The following evening John realizes he is speaking to his father but it takes some convincing for Frank to realize he is hearing a voice from the future. John realizes the miraculous opportunity he has and tries to warn his father about his impending death, but Frank refuses to believe he is hearing a voice from the future. John reveals to him what will happen in Game 2 of the World Series in the hopes his father will believe him and then they are cut off.
Frank sees the events in Game 2 play out and knows he has heard the truth. He will die today unless he makes the right decision. During the deadly fire he goes against his instincts and tries a different escape route. Frank is saved but John realizes all is not well. The future is changed but not for the better. John finds himself in a new reality, one where he has lost his mother tragically. Now father and son must work together across time to repair a horrific event that should never have happened.
"Frequency" was the most underappreciated film of this year. It received excellent reviews but only middling success at the box office. My only advice is to see this film as soon as possible. "Frequency" effortlessly crosses genre boundaries and succeeds in each one. It's a thriller, a science-fiction story and a drama all packed into one film.
If you're not moved to tears by this film then you're heartless. Who among us has not lost someone important and not wished for just five more minutes or wished they had the ability to right a terrible wrong? This is a fantasy that everyone can relate to. It also speaks of the bond between fathers and sons who are often connected by those things (like baseball) that the father passes on to the son and always live on in the son. John has forgotten those things his father has taught him and his life is worse for it. Miraculously reconnecting with his dad makes him realize the person he can be.
New Line has served up another of their excellent Platinum Series DVDs which has a bevy of special features that make this quite an attractive package (the film alone is worth it though!) There are two audio commentaries from the director and screenwriter, a sampling of deleted scenes, a very informative documentary (definitely not the usual promotional fluff), trailers and other DVD-Rom features. The widescreen transfer is stunning. Highest possible recommendation.