An offbeat philosophy class that posits class divisions as natural laws, Frequencies is a delightfully bizarre speculative romance that’s as big on ideas as it is small in scale. Undoubtedly the most unique love story you’ll see in cinemas this year, it plays somewhat like Shane Carruth directing Just My Luck – which turns out to be a winning combination.
In a world where your destiny is determined by your frequency, Zak and Marie are polar opposites. Zak is a kind hearted kid with a wavelength so low he’s literally out of sync with the world around him, while Marie is such a textbook example of the top end of the spectrum that she does not experience emotion or empathy. Their incompatibility is so great that nature literally can’t stand to have the two in close proximity – but Zak wants to be around Marie, and she’s willing to indulge him (for research purposes, at least). After years of their attempts to converse being limited to 60 seconds, Zak and Marie reunite as adults when he finds a solution to their predicament – and so begins a tangled mystery.
At the helm of Frequencies is jack of all trades Darren Paul Fisher, acting as director, writer, producer, and editor – who crafts this mystifying romance from so many disparate parts that it’s the happiest miracle to see them fit together as a whole. Fisher’s questioning of free will and the mechanics of romance are ambitious topics for a film so small, but Frequencies wholeheartedly embraces its independent constraints – it’s not a film that would get made in any other circumstance, and it’s all the better for it. The charmingly low key production design that sets us in a world that appears all too similar to our own; the cinematography is simple and the music is elegant yet consistently understated – leaving the themes of the film front and centre.
Split into four chapters, we see Zak and Marie’s story played out from multiple angles, with a trio of actors playing Zak, Marie and school friend Theo through childhood, adolescence and adulthood. The film is charmingly carefree in its time in Zak and Marie’s school – their awkward teenage interactions are a delight to behold – then gradually becomes more sinister as Zak’s discovery unwittingly presents sinister repercussions for civilisation at large. It’s somewhat of a shame that the film’s long gestating payoff becomes too convoluted to be completely satisfying, but the shortchanged reveal in the closing minutes doesn’t dull the film’s lofty ideas – which are, for the most part, admirably handled.
The ideas at the heart of Frequencies are, like all good science fiction, immediately recognisable in your own life. We all have that one friend that the universe seemingly aligns for, and another one who’s perennially unlucky. But this familiarity will keep you guessing in the not quite here, not quite there world of Frequencies – a miraculously odd tale of love under the strangest of circumstances.
Review Score: FOUR STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
Duration: 105 Minutes
Frequencies is released on iTunes and VOD on May 22nd. Details on FilmBuff, HERE. Trailer below!