Friday, May 23, 2014

Movie with Abe: Frequencies

Directed by Darren Paul Fisher
Released May 23, 2014

There are complications to every love story. In a society where status and success are determined by measured levels of intelligence, or “frequency,” it proves especially challenging for kindhearted Zak (Daniel Fraser) to woo the girl of his dreams, Marie (Eleanor Wyld), whose frequency far outweighs his. Yet any dystopia is ripe for someone to challenge the way things are, and this creative, involving film is just that: a marvelous and driven journey to push back against preconceptions and supposed fact and prove that free will is still very much alive and possible.

“Frequencies” begins early in the lives of Zak and Marie as the two classmates receive their diagnoses. Marie is the focus of the film at first, and Zak only becomes central after most of her story has already been unveiled. They can spend only one minute together, otherwise the universe compensates for the great imbalance created when they try to unseat its natural pull. Zak is inherently emotional, while Marie explains that she does not possess the ability to feel, so high on the intellectual spectrum that she cannot comprehend the purpose of small talk or anything other than clearly productive and logical activities.

“Frequencies” is full of smile-inducing moments, some derived from the ridiculousness nature of this world and others from its characters’ attempts to bring down its walls. There are layers of meaning and subtext to its plot, and its editing makes it particularly powerful, filling in gaps as it goes on by telling other people’s stories from a wholly fresh perspective. This could be just any tale of society gone wrong, yet it’s invigorated by a sense of originality and a deep excitement in all of its characters in discovering that things may not be nearly as determined as they always thought them to be.

The performances in “Frequencies” contribute greatly to its effectiveness, as the actors capture the inner emotions – or lack thereof – of their characters. Dylan Llewellyn and Georgina Minter-Brown help shape Zak and Marie at a young age, when all they know is what they are taught in school. Fraser and Wyld draw out the ways in which they have been influenced by the stoicism and predetermination around them, fleshing out energetic hope and controlled cynicism marvelously. “Frequencies” is certainly an unsettling and unnerving film, but it’s also a rewarding and surprisingly entertaining look at what love might look like if everyone told you it was scientifically impossible.


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