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British Film Review: Frequencies
Directed By Darren Paul Fisher
Zak and Marie are special. They go to a special school where students are graded on their ability to manipulate destiny. This ability is known as ‘frequency.’ Being particularly low frequency (Zak) or particularly high frequency (Marie) has curious side effects, both in the protagonists and the reality around them. Chief among them is that Marie does not experience emotions as we understand them. This is an issue, since Zak is the opposite and has a major thing for Marie. It thus looks like we are headed straight for a sci-fi themed weird boy meets weirder girl story. Or are we?
From the very beginning we are presented with a pair of characters who are, on the face of things, quite insufferable. Marie has the emotional range of a jellied eel, meeting Zak for the purposes of social experiment of which she herself is the subject; Zak on the other hand is devoted to her in a way which goes way past obsession and deep into Dr Frankenstein territory. As they continue their forbidden (by school regulations) pseudo-scientific affair, changing haircuts mark the passage of time, and we are given tiny clues as to the strange world these two inhabit. Darren Paul Fisher’s film is harshly lit (like an episode of X-Files accidentally filmed in daylight) and peripheral characters speak in clipped, sardonic sentences, treating their Hogwartz-like child prodigies like philosophical lab-rats; until we the audience start to wonder whether we are there to follow the semi-functional leads, or whether we are also a philosophical lab-rat.
Director Fisher bills himself as writer/director/producer. This is a clue to the single-mindedness in which his film charts its own course; setting aside genre, reality, conventions, and expectations. The set-up he presents us with (even though it takes its own sweet time to unravel) is complex and intelligently explained, and an excuse for some excellent lines (“It’s weird, talking to you without a deadline”); even the harsh lighting has a hidden reason.
Finally, just when we think we have a handle on what’s going on, the story takes a turn into a frankly ridiculous third act, which either loses the plot or becomes immensely profound- depending on your own cinematic tastes.
'Frequencies' is now available on Video On Demand and on DVD 20th April 2015.
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