Watched Frequencies last night, I didn’t intend to write a review of the film but it had been recommended to me by some friends. I gave them my opinion, and since I had already done the heavy lifting of writing it down, I figured I could toss it up on the blog.
The short answer is that I enjoyed and recommend it. It’s a good measure of a story if you find yourself thinking about it long after the film is over. Frequencies is a pretty original science fiction thought experiment.
I enjoyed the director’s use of color tones, moving between red and blue camera lenses for scenes where the person’s perspective moved from cold logic to human emotion.
The writer did a lot with symbolism. You can’t always be certain when something isn’t expressly stated, but I am going to go out on a limb here and assume ‘The Book’ was intended to be analogous to ‘The Bible,’ and that the male leads friend is representative of god as he becomes semi-omniscient.
I was a little disappointed with the ending, as it heads straight for the old question: “If we have free will or not, would it change anything? Would you care?” The characters just shrug the question off as everyone does in our non-science-fiction reality. They don’t having anything interesting to say on the matter despite all they’ve experienced, despite the fact that they have had moments where their will has been temporarily usurped. Though writing it down now, it dawns on me that this may have very well been the point. Pondering…
Warning: Navel Gazing to follow.
Other than that there was one thing that bugged me. This happens a lot, especially to atheists admittedly, and its a pet peeve, not something someone should weigh before watching the film.
The characters make frequent references to their ‘souls’ throughout the film. Writers often take this concept for granted, assuming that their audience accepts the idea as reality instead of a manifestation of human imagination. I’ve never heard an argument that validates the myth of the human soul, its always used as an attempt to insert magic when logic fails to deliver the answer mankind wants to hear. The sad thing about it is that most don’t take the time to think about it: the assumed magic of the soul doesn’t actually fix the problem, even if you do believe in it.
Basically what I am saying here is that human beings rebel against the possibility that they are a product of their genetics (Nature) and their life experiences (Nurture), because they have no control over those things. They assume we have souls in order to insert that control, but failing to realize, that even if a soul was a proven reality, we still have no control over the soul we get, just as we have no control over who are parents are, what genes we inherit, what economic demographic we are born into.
It bothers me because it tends to be a source of great religious hypocrisy. A means to give ourselves intrinsic value we have no claim to in the face of freewill being an illusion. I don’t mean to point fingers, or make sweeping assumptions, but this is something I really wish conservatives, or at least religious fundamentalist, would give more thought too. It is scary of course, as one’s sense of identify can be very dependent on our perceived value of our life’s efforts. However, I find that when we get done looking to prove our own value, and see how little control we ever had on what the current outcome of our life has been, we cannot help but find compassion for those who weren’t as lucky.