Knowing is about some weird alien plot to steal children of Earth during the apocalypse. The movie have no highlights, no action sequence, no life lessons (except implying that maybe god and angels are all aliens, a bunch of cold hearted, uncaring overseer). And absolutely nothing to look forward to, except maybe Nicolas Cage if you're a fan.
I was only half right, well to be fair three quarters. The movie had so much promise and base, well for at least the first hour. If you were actually able to look passed Nicolas Cages over acting, the story premise of whether life is a predetermined fate and or simply a random string of events truly captures you and commands attention.
There is a However. The final cornball out-of-place 1970's close encounters of the dreadful kind last 20 minutes negates all that came before extinguishing any hope the film may have making you want to flee the theatre screaming why did you ruin it? Either that or sit there mockingly humming black and white rerun sci-fi tunes.
Knowing begins at the opening of a new elementary school in 1959, in celebration of the lunch students are asked to submit ideas to help commemorate. Deciding on the burial of a time capsule, students are requested to draw a picture of what they believe 50 years into the future will look like.
Whilst drawing; the winning student, a troubled Wednesday Adams looking young girl Lucinda Embry (Lara Robinson), becomes visibly possessed, covering both sides of her page in seemingly obscure numbers. Although disheartened by Lucinda's continual antisocial and detached behaviour, the teacher places her offering into the capsule nonetheless.
Fast forwarding 50 years, newly widowed MIT professor and astrophysicist John Koestler (Nicolas Cage) and his hearing "scrambled" son Caleb (Chandler Canterbury) are attempting to cope with his wife's death. John spends his days teaching but his night's finding the bottom of a whisky bottle.
During the 50th anniversary unearthing of the time capsule, Caleb receives Lucinda's bizarre offering. Deciding it must be some kind of puzzle; Caleb takes it home against school wishes. John confiscates the letter intending to return it to the school. However, as he sits in his drunken evening state and realises that there may be something too seemingly unrelated pattern of numbers.
John spends the night obsessed; googling and researching each pattern relentlessly. Reflecting on his zealous circling patterning, John identifies hidden amongst the numbers is every major human catastrophe taken place since its burial. Listing in order the date and the specific body count (and unbeknownst at the time, the location).
John appeals to his MIT colleague and best friend (Australia's Ben Mendelsohn) and the daughter of Lucinda, Diana Wayland (Another Australian Rose Byrne) attempting to convince them that not only has he not slipped off his own axis and gone mad, but that only he knows where, when and how many people will be affected by the next incident on his list.
Whilst John is running towards each upcoming preordained occurrence, a plane crash, a train derailment; Caleb is being communicated with and visited by a group of albino looking men known as "The Whisperers". Who are they? And are they here to harm or help Caleb?
Knowing is a strong mainstream specimen of modern sci-fi, using striking music and shock visual effects in real-life relatable transport disasters.
Oversimplifying and overdoing everything from character development to plot points, Knowing feels the need exacerbate each side of the religion versus science argument to excruciating detail. Is life random or destined and can we stop it either way?
Unwilling to leave anything to the imagination, every possibility is spelt out; Social and technological breakdowns, familial and philosophical resolutions and the preposterous montage of disaster and demise.
Without giving anything away, the finale with its queasy vomit-inducing subtext is unnecessarily over-the-top is merely more than tacky. Attempting to batter viewers into submission with overused clichés over-exposed blinding lighting and religiously prophetic post-apocalyptic euphoria was mildly offensive.
The Verdict: Knowing initially shows a lot of promise, both in the trailers and through the first 80 minutes of the actual film. However with such a ridiculous climax there was no time left for salvation. If you aren't willing to wait for DVD, by all means go see it, but take my advice and walk out before you see the light. You'll know what I mean!
Published: The Queanbeyan Age
Date of Publication: 03/04/2009
the visual effects were amazing and the story was very original
to see absolutely
it's because it pissed people off when they see movies that express the extinction of human triumph. in this film, there is honestly no way out. I liked this movie alot because it was a unique story and it truly made me want to watch the movie until the sad end.