Even with some necessary suspension of disbelief, Frequency is a well crafted film with fine performances from Jim Caviezel, Dennis Quaid and Andre Braugher. The story is finely written and the premise is certainly interesting and above all else, original.
Genre(s): Thriller, Drama, Science Fiction
Warner Bros. | PG13 – 118 min. – $19.98 | July 10, 2012
Directed by: Gregory Hoblit
Writer(s): Toby Emmerich (written by)
Cast: Dennis Quaid, Jim Caviezel, Andre Braugher, Elizabeth Mitchell, Noah Emmerich
Theatrical Release Date: April 28, 2000
Features: 2 Commentaries, Featurette, Deleted Scenes, Galleries, Music-Only Track w/ Commentary, Theatrical Trailer
Number of Discs: 1
Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 7.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 2.40
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Disc Size: 31.7 GB
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Region(s): A, B, C
THE MOVIE – 4.0/5
Plot Synopsis: All his life, Detective John Sullivan (JIM CAVIEZEL) has been haunted by one tragic event. When a once-in-a-lifetime phenomenon of nature opens a mysterious channel to the past, John is stunned to discover that he is able to communicate with his dad Frank (DENNIS QUAID)… who’s been dead for 30 years. But by changing the past, they set in motion a string of brutal, unsolved murders, with John’s mother (ELIZABETH MITCHELL) – and Frank’s wife – the next victim. Racing against time, the son and father must now find a way to stop the crime that could destroy the future for the both of them.
Quick Hit Review: Whenever movies get into the realm of time travel, they mostly get into trouble with plot holes or inconsistencies but if the characters and/or the story is engaging, then one can normally ignore any of the flaws that might arise. One example is, of course, the Back to the Future movies (the second one especially), another is the 2000 drama-thriller, Frequency. This is a film that starts off as a drama before turning into a murder mystery and finally a thriller. It hits all the right emotional buttons (father/son relationship) and while the ending doesn’t make a heck of a lot of sense, on the whole it’s effective and, most of all, entertaining.
The acting is another aspect that makes this movie tick. Jim Caviezel and Dennis Quaid share great father-son chemistry despite never appearing on-screen together and having their scenes cut between while talking over a ham radio. It’s a bit of a contrived situation as to how it all started, thanks to a young Michael Cera finding it in an old box under the stairs, but like everything else, it’s well done and never feels off or forced. When we get into the back and forth between father and son, the movie picks up steam and you’re enthralled with the premise even if the “how” isn’t entirely believable (but hey, if I can buy Bill Murray inexplicably reliving everyday in Groundhog Day, why can’t the same be done here?).
What drives Frequency is less about the mystery, which is solved rather quickly and becomes more of a cat and mouse game, but it’s because of the performances from Jim Caviezel and Dennis Quaid who are commanding in their respective timelines; just an all around brilliant piece of casting. The supporting cast isn’t bad either from the vastly underrated Andre Braugher playing essentially two sides of the same character depending on the timeline to Noah Emmerich (whose brother, Toby, wrote and produced) playing what’s essentially the thankless role as the best friend, but he has so much charisma that it’s hard to not like the character even if the screen time is limited.
All in all, Frequency is the kind of movie you shouldn’t think too hard about, especially towards the end. Instead, one can appreciate it for the acting, some solid writing and an interesting premise which, despite a few issues, is fascinating. This being my second viewing, it still holds up today as it had back in 2004.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 3.5/5
All the features from the “New Line Platinum Series” DVD have been ported over.
Feature Commentaries – There are two tracks, one with Director Gregory Hoblit, the other with Writer/Producer Toby Emmerich and Actor Noah Emmerich. Each one provides a different info but both are fairly technical with Hoblit providing some more info and fills the time while the other there seems to be some more gaps. However, both tracks are good and worth listening to.
The Science & Technology Behind Frequency (TRT 37:59; SD) has multiple featurettes under this banner: “Solar Science” (6:48), “Ham Radios” (8:37), “Time Travel & Theoretical Physics” (8:36), “Fighting Fires” (7:54) and “Creating Natural Phenomena for Film” (6:04). Each one of these features members of the crew and some experts in specific fields.
Conceptual & Solar Galleries include “Rough 3D Animation”, “Animation with Lighting”, “Complex Animation” and “Final Film”. Not sure why they did these in individual features instead of doing a comparison of all 4 on one featurette…
Music-Only Track with Commentary by Composer Michael Kamen – If you’ve ever listened to these kinds of commentaries, it might not be entirely enthralling but if you enjoy listening to music scores you might find value in this. Generally, whenever there’s a break in the movie without a score, Kamen fills the time talking about composing.
Deleted Scenes (5:37; SD) – There’s a collection of 5 scenes that didn’t make the cut but none of them are very interesting and would ultimately slow down the film.
Theatrical Trailer (2:29; SD)
VIDEO – 4.25/5
Frequency arrives on Blu-ray with a nice looking 1080p high-def transfer (MPEG-4 AVC encoding). The movie is presented with its original 2.40 widescreen aspect ratio and looks sharp throughout. The color array is also nice and well balanced making for a theatrical like experience. Black levels are also impressive showing no signs of compression, artifacts or pixilation. It’s not a transfer that will pop off the screen but certainly more than satisfying enough for the home theater audience.
AUDIO – 4.0/5
Surprisingly enough, the disc sports a crisp 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track, which is a bit surprising considering there’s not a whole lot of action outside of the opening sequence, a fire scene towards the middle and maybe a chase scene near the end. Otherwise, the film is dialogue driven with some ambient noises and Michael Kamen’s nice score making use of the other channels. Like the video, I didn’t feel it was an immersive experience but more than good enough for my ears.
OVERALL – 3.75/5
Overall, even with some necessary suspension of disbelief, Frequency is a well crafted film with fine performances from Jim Caviezel, Dennis Quaid and Andre Braugher. The story is finely written and the premise is certainly interesting and above all else, original. The Blu-ray offers up more than adequate audio and video transfers while the features have all been ported over from the DVD release.