19th Apr2015

‘Frequencies’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Lily Laight, Charlie Rixon, Daniel Fraser, Eleanor Wyld, Owen Pugh, Dylan Llewellyn, Georgina Minter-Brown, David Broughton-Davies, David Barnaby, Timothy Block, Ria Carroll | Written and Directed by Darren Paul Fisher

Zak-Marie-Frequencies

Thematically similar to the Divergent franchise – in that children are tested at a young age and their place in society is determined given the results – British sci-fi film Frequencies plays out like an extended episode of Tales of the Unexpected crossed with the philosophical science of a film such as Darren Aronofsky’s Pi and/or The Fountain….

In a dystopian future, children’s ability to succeed in life is determined at a young age, based on their own personal ‘frequency’ which dictates just how lucky they will be. In the process of testing one particular group, it transpires that Marie (Laight) has an impossibly high frequency, making her the luckiest girl in the world. At the same testing, Zak (Rixon) is discovered to have a frequency so low it measures as a negative number.

Despite the polar differences in their predetermined futures, Zak and Marie grow closer, undertaking various experiments to understand the meaning behind their interactions and the results of ultra high and low frequency interaction. As they reach adolescence, Zak (Fraser) becomes desperate to alter their frequencies so that he and Marie (Wyld) can be together, and with the help of his friend, Theo (Pugh), devotes his life to finding a way. However, when he finally makes a huge breakthrough, the repercussions stretch further than he could possibly imagine, causing everyone he once trusted to turn on him.

Told from four perspectives – first Marie’s, then Zak’s, from the perspective of the two of them as grown-ups,  then from the perspective of Zak’s friend Theo, Frequencies is one of those “sci-fi” films that refuses to be pigeon-holed by the very genre in which it sits. At first playing out like a romantic tale of star-crossed lovers, the film takes a dark turn as it moves towards its conclusion, wherein Zak’s experiment is revealed to be much more than just a balancing of frequencies, and not only does his breakthrough allow him interact with those of a higher frequency but it also allows for the manipulation of fate and free will.

Come the third perspective Frequencies loses the focus on the humanity of the situation (namely the releationship between Marie and Zak) andturns very much into a science-heavy story about life, relationships, the ramifications of science on the human race and much grander themes of science versus nature. It’s also here that the film does fall apart somewhat – especially when a clandestine agency gets involved and the film decends into more conspiracy-theory based sci-fi that was so prevalent in the era of The X-Files.

But thankfully Frequencies redeems itself in stunning fashion as the “antidote” for the frequency manipulation is unveiled, Theo’s story is told and the true extent of the manipulation – of both the characters within the film and the audience – is finally explored and this “be careful what you wish forstory is revealed to be a stunning philosophical exploration of just what it means to be human.

Frequencies is released on DVD on April 20th, courtesy of Signature Entertainment.

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