Frequency

January 28, 2012 9 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

One of the most intriguing things about time and time travel is the amount of endless possibilities. While Frequency doesn’t exactly deal with time travel, it deals with the travel of information over time…Frank Sullivan (Dennis Quaid) is a New York City Firefighter, as the story opens in 1969. A brave man, we see him risk near certain death to rescue two workers from an explosion. We then meet his son…30 years later. His son, nearly following in his father’s footsteps, is a New York City Police Officer. John (Jim Caviezel) has just broken up with his girlfriend, is burnt out on his job and it seems is bordering on becoming an alcoholic. While over at his friend’s house, they happen across his father’s old ham radio. Just for kicks, John hooks it up and is quite surprised to find someone on the other end. What he thinks is neat, later turns out to be something that changes his life and that of his family forever…

In the life that John knows, his father died when he was six. A fire at an abandoned warehouse took his life and there has been somewhat of an empty void ever since. What he leaned is that the person on the other end of the radio is his father from thirty years ago! After the initial shock has worn off and they are both convinced that they are who they say they are, the fun begins. Catching up on old times (or new as the case may be), they bond as the father and son that they never really were. All of this takes a back seat to the real plot, though. John soon realizes that he can change the past by telling his father what happens in the future, and his most immediate concern is to tell his father to make a different decision when fighting the warehouse fire. This happens, but it has changed the future as well. Still in the present his father is deceased, but this time due to lung cancer (Frank constantly puffs away in 1969). What starts to happen after that is what’s known as the “ripple effect”. John has changed the past, but it’s now changing the future even if ever so slightly. Now we discover that it’s Julia (Elizabeth Mitchell) who is deceased in the present and they must find a way to fix that. Of course, it’s hard for anyone to believe that a father and son are talking on a radio through time, so therein lies a problem.

In the background is a case of “The Nightingale Murders”, a rampage of murders of nurses throughout New York that have police baffled. When the future is changed by Frank living, the count all of the sudden rises from 3 to 10, with Julia Sullivan being one of the victims. So what must be stopped in the “past” and the “present” is to get the Nightingale murderer. The plot takes a turn that I didn’t necessarily like, by making Frank out to be the killer, but the story is interesting enough. While this type of story isn’t the most original, it’s told and acted in a way that keeps your attention. The directing by Gregory Hoblit is superb and I have to admit, it’s another of those “what if” stories, but with a much more realistic flare to it. Frequency will not only leave you entertained, but it will get you thinking as well.

Video: How does it look?

Frequency is presented in a 2.35:1 anamorphic image that looks nothing short of spectacular. Being a brand new movie and new to DVD, it’s clear (no pun intended) that transfers like this have a leg up on some of the older catalog titles. Still, the image is crystal clear and shows no signs of artifacting, compression errors or anything else associated with a sub par transfer. One scene in particular was in the opening, where Frank dives out of the way of an explosion. The film is shot in a super slow motion, but I swear you can see every detail in that frame, it really stood out as being impressive. Also, the lights (Aurora Borealis) that appear above the houses throughout the movie give off an odd light that is very interesting to look at. New Line has done it again with this transfer.

Audio: How does it sound?

I have to be honest here, I really wasn’t expecting a soundtrack like this to be in this movie. Most movies that feature high-powered special effect soundtracks are science fiction (which I guess this could classify) or action/adventure movies. Frequency has a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack that is surprisingly active and dynamic. While a majority of the action is in the front three channels, the subwoofer and surrounds are constantly in use due to the soundtrack, of which there is an isolated score as well. Dialogue is clear and has no signs of distortion. There are a few gunshots, explosions and other assorted incidents to make all of your speakers earn their keep when playing this movie. Excellent.

Supplements: What are the extras?

It seems that most every new title that comes out from New Line is some sort of special edition. Frequency is certainly no exception. Sporting no less than two commentary tracks and even another commentary track that has “Pop Up Video” like facts that come up at key moments during the movie. The first commentary track is done by the director Gregory Hoblit I would have really liked to hear the two main actors (Quaid and Caviezel) comment on the movie as well. Still, it’s very informative and worth a listen. In addition to the commentary tracks (note: plural), there is also an isolated score that sounds almost as good as the movie itself. I listened to it all the way through and even a few parts twice, as it sounds that good. Some deleted scenes, four, are included as well, though they are just longer versions of the scenes that are already in the movie, personally I liked them all except the one with Toby Emmerich doing a cameo…that should have been cut and I’m glad it stayed that way. One of the more interesting features is a documentary entitled “The Science Behind Frequency” (broken up into segments) that explains different aspects of the film. Sections include Solar Science, Ham Radios, Time Travel and Theoretical Physics, Fighting Fires and Creating the Natural Phenomenon for the Film. All are very interesting, and feature interviews with resident experts in their respective fields. Also the interviews are spliced with sections from the movie to avoid that “documentary” like feel. Of course, the standard cast BIOS, trailers and even a conceptual gallery of how the opening effect was made are all included. Finally, there is some DVD-ROM content that contains links to the website and even a game of the movie. All in all, I don’t really see what more could be added, as they have seemed to cover all the bases. Nice job for a nice movie.

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