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film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

Frequencies (aka OXV: The Manual) movie review: do you feel me?

Frequencies green light

A film to warm the cockles of your geeky heart, an incredibly ambitious and profoundly provocative science fiction drama about ideas that require no FX to sell them.
I’m “biast” (pro): yay! real science fiction! yay!

I’m “biast” (con): nothing

(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)

Are you hungry for true ideas-fueled science fiction? Do you lament that we so rarely see such things in movies? Then here is a film to warm the cockles of your geeky heart. For here we have a low-budget — I’m gonna guess ultra-low-budget — little British tale from a slightly parallel universe where everyone has a “frequency.” High frequency correlates with good luck and “nature” working hard to give you “everything you want”; low frequency correlates with klutziness and doofiness and general bad luck. It’s a metaphor for privilege and chance and even romantic attraction, though it seems to work in an anti way with Zak (played in very convincing ascending ages, from eight-ish to teen to adult, by Charlie Rixon, Dylan Llewellyn, and Daniel Fraser [The Patrol]) and Marie (Lily Laight [In Secret], Georgina Minter-Brown, and Eleanor Wyld). He is super-low frequency; she is super-high. When they’re kids, they can’t spend more than 60 seconds in close proximity before something weirdly disastrous happens; she finds this intriguing and develops scientific experiments around the pitfalls of their interactions. She’s coolly rational and lacking in empathy; he’s goofy and completely smitten with her from childhood. And then he discovers a way to change his frequency so that he can spend a little more time with her… Writer and director Darren Paul Fisher extrapolates from a sci-fi version of an awkward teen romance and takes his beautifully oddball — and yet still somehow wholly plausible — concept into a realm where the fundamental nature of the universe, or at least of humanity, is called into question. Frequencies ends up, electrifyingly, in an insanely bonkers and kind of amazing place where words have literally power and free will and creativity are up in the air. This is incredibly ambitious and profoundly provocative science fiction drama that you must see if you value thought as much as you do action in your cinema.

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Frequencies (2014)
US/Can release: May 22 2014 (VOD same day)
UK/Ire release: direct to VOD

MPAA: not rated
BBFC: rated 12 (infrequent moderate sex references)

viewed on my iPad

official site | IMDb
more reviews: Movie Review Query Engine | Rotten Tomatoes

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