Reviewed by: Stephen Carty

It's 1999 and during some extremely unusual solar activity, depressed New York cop John Sullivan (Jim Caviezel) miraculously finds that by using an old CB radio he can communicate with his fire-fighter Dad Frank (Dennis Quaid) - who died back in 69. Though John successfully helps his Dad avoid death, Frank's continued existence endangers the lives of six women and the pair must work together to solve the case.

A grown-man communicating with his long-dead pop 30 years in the past over a ham radio? Undoubtedly, close-minded cynics won't even bother with this one. However, for those open to a bit of sci-fi or lovers of the genre, it's a fantastic premise that reeks of the Twilight Zone. To be honest, it's never quite as good as you want it to be, but director Gregory Hoblit and writer/producer Toby Emmerich should be commended for their ambition.

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Granted, those that like to pick holes in the internal-logic of time-travel movies will have a nit-picking field day here - this trippy thriller's not as clever as it thinks it is and towards the end the cause-and-effect gimmickry gets a bit much. But there a few moments that threaten to tingle spines and at least Hoblit and Emmerich try to engage the viewers' brains rather than using the set-up as an excuse to crowbar in action scenes at every chance.

Given the needs of the plot, we spend half our time in late Sixties Queens and the other in modern-day New York. Aside from some dodgy ageing make-up (Elizabeth Mitchell as John's mum/Frank's wife isn't convincingly transformed to Granny-age) each period works well; the former an era of baseball, barbeques and Americana, the latter a rainy and depressing epoch of crime.

Interestingly, the most jarring change of pace is when the second half lurches firmly into a semi-unexpected stop-the-serial-killer focus. It's not terrible, but the early father-son stages are more involving, both Dennis Quaid (the all-American Superdad) and Jim Caviezel (the moody, fatherless workaholic) carving out a crucially-believable rapport. The support is decent too, but it's inarguably all about the two Sullivan men.

With its out-there premise Frequency won't be for everyone, but for sci-fi fans it’s definitely worth your time.

Reviewed on: 26 May 2010
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Frequency packshot
A man discovers he can talk to his long-dead father via a CB radio.
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