Frequency (2000)

Frequency is a 2000 American science fiction thriller drama film. It was co-produced and directed by Gregory Hoblit and written and co-produced by Toby Emmerich. The film stars Dennis Quaid and Jim Caviezel as father and son, Frank and John Sullivan respectively. It was filmed in Toronto and New York City. The film gained mostly favorable reviews following its release via DVD format on October 31, 2000.

In 1969, firefighter Frank Sullivan (Quaid) dies in a warehouse fire, leaving behind his wife Julia and son John. Thirty years later, in 1999, John (Caviezel), now an NYPD detective, is dumped by his girlfriend Samantha for refusing to move out of his father’s house. John’s old friend Gordo (Noah Emmerich) finds a Heathkit single-sideband ham radio that once belonged to Frank, but fails to get it working. The night before the anniversary of his father’s death, John is surprised to find the radio broadcasting and has a brief conversation with another man concerning the 1969 World Series, which John is able to recount in surprising detail. Eventually, he realizes that the other man is Frank and tries to warn him of his impending death. The next day, while attempting to rescue a young girl, Frank heeds his son’s warning and manages to escape. That evening, the two reconnect and learn a great deal about each other’s lives.

Subsequently, John begins to notice little changes in the present: Julia (Elizabeth Mitchell) no longer lives at her current address, Samantha doesn’t recognize him, and he learns that Frank died ten years earlier from lung cancer. His boss, Sgt. Satch DeLeon (Andre Braugher), assigns him to investigate the “Nightingale”, a serial killer who murdered three nurses in the 1960’s. However, John discovers that the Nightingale has now been connected to ten murders, including that of his mother two weeks after Frank’s supposed death. Overwhelmed with guilt for the killings, John persuades his father to help him prevent these crimes from occurring. Frank manages to save the first victim, but when he tries to rescue the second, the Nightingale subdues him and steals his driver’s license, which he plants to frame Frank for the murder.

When Frank shares his experience with John, the latter instructs him to wrap his wallet in plastic and hide it. Using the preserved fingerprints from the wallet, John identifies the Nightingale as Jack Shepard (Shawn Doyle), a former detective who, in the original timeline, died from a medical error the same night Frank was killed. Because Julia did not leave the hospital early, she was able to save his life. Meanwhile, Frank is approached by then-Detective Satch DeLeon, who tries to arrest him on suspicion of murder. In the resulting struggle, the radio is knocked over and sustains damage, shutting it off. While awaiting questioning, Frank fakes a fire, escapes the precinct, and breaks into Shepard’s apartment, where he finds jewelry taken from the victims. Shepard catches him in the act and pursues him, ending with a fight underwater where he seemingly drowns.

While fixing the radio, both John and Frank are attacked by the 1969 and 1999 versions of Shepard. Using a shotgun, Frank blows off Shepard’s right hand, causing his older self to lose his just as he is about to kill John. With the timeline rapidly fixing itself, an elderly Frank kills Shepard and embraces his son. The film concludes with a baseball game including John, Samantha (now his wife), John’s young son, Frank, Satch, Julia, and Gordo, who is now wealthy on account of having invested in Yahoo on John’s advice.

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The Movie

What if you had the chance to travel back in time and change just one event in your life? What would it be? For John Sullivan, there is no question. He would undo the events of October 12, 1969, when the out-of-control Bruxton fire took the life of his father, a heroic firefighter. Ever since he was a kid, John dreamed of being able to stop the tragedy of that fateful day, which set into motion the anger and loneliness that have haunted his adult life as a cop in the 1990s. Now John may get exactly what he has wished for, and more than he bargained for. One day before the anniversary of his father’s death, in the midst of the spectacular storm known as the aurora borealis, John Sullivan discovers in the house he inherited his father’s old ham radio and begins to play with it. Through the electrical static, he finds himself talking to a man who claims to be a firefighter and who appears to be awaiting the World Series of 1969. Is John really talking to his own living father on the very same day, in the very same house, but exactly three decades ago? At first neither can believe it, but soon John is carrying on an all-night conversation with his young father, sharing for the first time his deep love and regret over his future death. Yet John realizes that now he may be able to change all that. By alerting Frank to the mistake that cost him his life the first time around, John saves his youthful father from dying in the Bruxton fire. On October 12, 1999, John Sullivan discovers that he now has photographs on his walls of his father as a gray-haired man. By changing the past, the Sullivans have forged a new present. John is ecstatic with his new memories of his father- until he discovers other things have been altered. Subtle changes caused by his father’s survival have led to a string of unsolved serial homicides, including the grisly murder of John’s mother. Now Frank and John must race against the clock-divided by three decades and connected only by a radio-to prevent a murder that will seal their destinies. And each time Frank changes something in his universe, John wakes up to a whole new reality.
Rating: PG-13 (for intense violence and disturbing images)
Genre: Action & Adventure, Drama, Mystery & Suspense, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Directed By: Gregory Hoblit
Written By: Toby Emmerich
In Theaters:  wide

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