With most movies it is easy to determine what genre they belong in. This is because it is difficult enough to make a successful movie in one genre let only two or three. Frequency breaks this type casting very nicely. It is part Sci-Fi, part drama and part mystery. The story is set in two times, 1969 and 1999. In the past fireman Frank Sullivan (Dennis Quaid) is happy with his life. He loves his job, his wife and his six-year-old son John. In the present John (James Caviezel) has grown up to become a policeman. He lost his father back in 1969 during a warehouse fire. In both time periods there was unusual sun spot activity that permits John to use an old ham radio to actually speak to his father. Using the 1969 World Series with the NY Mets he convinces his father that he really is his son in the future and tells him how to avoid the fatal accident. If this was an Outer Limits or Twilight Zone this in itself would make for a very good story. Fortunately for us the tale continues. Because his father lives his mother is never called away from her job as a nurse and a fatal ER accident fails to kill a serial killer. Instead of stopping after just three murders the killer goes on to murder ten young nurses, including Johns mother. John, working in the present and Frank working in the past manage to continue to change history. The only thing is each time they are the only ones aware of the multiple timelines. Each time they try to help a victim something else is changed that must be put right.
The acting here is much better than typical for a multi-genre film. Quaid and Caviezel hold the attention of the audience and keep the pace perfect. Quiad is a natural for the tough fire fighter committed to setting things right. Caviezel takes the stereotypical NY cop role into a cutting edge performance. While know of the performances are Oscar material they do much better than just a basic job, they exceed the normal. Even the supporting cast is great. Wonderful character/supporting actor Andre Braaugher is here as a seasoned cop that knew the father and is now partnered with the son. There is even a role for Noah Emmerich, the best friend in Truman here as Johns adult best friend. He is in danger of being type casts here but he does this type of role so well.
Director Gregory Hoblit is not a seasoned film director but he has paid some excellent dues. He has directed episodes of NYPD Blues, L.A. Law and Hill Street Blues. Working on these high quality TV shows has taught him how to do urban crime drams. This is something that helps to add the realism to the film. His directing style is very straightforward. There is little in the way of fancy cuts, fades and lighting. Instead Hoblit uses a realistic style that adds to an almost documentary feel to the film.
The disc is excellent. The sound is Dolby 5.1 and it rocks the room. I can usually watch these type of films in the wee hours of the morning but after only a minute or so I had to postpone my viewing until much later since the sub-woofer roars. The rear channels give not only excellent ambient sounds but the directional effects are splendid. The anamorphic 2.35:1 video is clear and completely free of artifacts and flaws. Even in the darkest scenes the details are there to enjoy. This DVD is also full of realistic extras. There are three commentary tracks. The first is with the director. The second features Emmerich and his brother the writer/producer. The last is an isolated 5.1 musical score with commentary by the composer. There is also an anamorphic 5.1 original documentary on how this film was made. Add to this a multitude of DVD ROM features. This is a surprise hit that you will enjoy many times, even after you know the ending.