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Frequency (2000)
Director: Gregory Hoblit

review by Steven Hampton

Frank Sullivan (Dennis Quaid) is a fireman in New York, 1969. His grown up son John (Jim Caviezel) is a homicide detective, still living in the family's house 30 years later. When John starts toying with an old shortwave radio set, he is mysteriously linked to the past so he can talk to his long dead father. Speaking from his dad's future, John tells Frank to be wary of a lethal blaze that has yet to occur, and his timely warning changes family history in ways neither can imagine...
   If you could go back in time and prevent a tragedy, what would you do? That's the question posed by this imaginative and enjoyable SF thriller, written by Toby Emmerich. Sunspots result in spectacular aurora borealis displays, and it's these inexplicable northern lights that seem to be responsible for the fantastical radio linkup. The time-warped visuals of changeable photos, and weird causality effects reminiscent of the Back To The Future trilogy help the audience to keep track of fluidly alternative timelines, as John and Frank attempt to prevent a local serial killer from escaping justice.
   If Frequency has a major flaw it's that of Hollywood's universal sentimentality. Not content with a satisfactory closure to this high concept drama, the unbending filmmakers have insisted on a happy ending for all concerned. Why do Americans need such reassurance in contemporary movies? Would a moment's ambiguity or a few loose plot threads ruin a film like this? I don't think so.
previously published online, VideoVista #21
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