You know what I love? I love time travel films. All kinds. It doesn’t matter if it is traditional, nontraditional, overused plot, or something entirely unique. That doesn’t mean I won’t rate it on being lazy and copying off of anyone. I’ll just rate it like I don’t like it, while in reality….I do. Anyways, I have a unique film here. “Frequency” is a film that involves time travel, but not in the way you would expect.
Frank Sullivan (Dennis Quaid) is a New York fireman, and an All-American hero. When Frank dies saving others in a terrible fire explosion, his son John (Jim Caveizel) has since lived on as a police officer, but never got over the death of his father, as it happened to him when he was just a boy. For a few days, the Northern Lights hit his town, so when he sets up an old CV radio his father used to own. There was some kind of magic with the Northern Lights, and his CV radio connected with his father using the same radio. So it’s not a person that went through time, it’s radio waves. This splits the movie into two separate storylines, with their respected timelines.
First of all, John has to direct Frank to stay alive time and time again. When he first saves his father, he lived a lot longer but still died, only this time of lung cancer, so John still only had memories to hold on to, he still lacked seeing his father live a lot longer without seeing his father die of old age…at least at first. Second of all, John has his own police investigation of a serial killer called the nightingale killer. As it so happens, the nightingale killer had his start around when his father was still a firefighter, so the story then becomes John directing Frank to save the lives of some of the victims that have already died in his timeline. This sends the killer both after Frank and after John when he got older, so both Frank and John are on the run from the same man at different periods of time.
We have seen films before where the main characters would write each other letters through time, but I personally like the idea of radio waves travelling through time than letters. It seems to make more scientific sense…even though it doesn’t. This is also one instance in time travel films where I am absolutely fine with the main character remembering a set of memories instead of only one when history changes, even if other people in his time period didn’t. Another example is “The Butterfly Effect“. It makes sense because it was major events that changed his life forever, he lived through it, and he just couldn’t forget it, he just remembered multiple events.
The only negative thing I really have to say about this film, and this is small, is the fact that it has been several years since his father died. I know some people never get over certain things, but come on. They were acting like it happened at the most a week ago, not thirty years. That is only a small thing, because John gets a hold of his father rather earlier on in the film, so that goes away when he gets to experience things he never got to before with his father. Sure, I guess I could complain about some of the make-up making other people look older in the film, but all things considered, it wasn’t terrible.
I was wondering if it could, and it most certainly does, still blow me away at how well it is done. I still believe that this is one of the best non-franchise time travel films of all time. I never really thought about the baseball element in the film other than something needed for character development, and a linking factor for father and son. It was, but it was also needed for proof that John was who he said he was, in different scenarios. For a number of reasons, the baseball thing was the glue that stuck everything together.
[SIDENOTE: Who else noticed that John’s best friend’s son was played by a young Michael Cera? That’s hilarious. Other sidenote: If they remade this film in another 15-20 years, I think a great way to do that is to have (again), a New York firefighter that died in the 2001 terrorist attacks, and his son in the future is able to stop his father from dying, and get everyone out of the building before the plane hits…or something. It would be one of those satisfying in moments in film that we know didn’t happen, but love seeing it happen on film anyway.