January 8, 2010
I'll go ahead and get this out of the way - I can't stand Nicholas Cage. I just can't. I'm not sure as to exactly why, though his acting may have a part in it. He just...annoys me, to the point of frustration. The fact that he's seldom in any GOOD movies is also kind of a turn-off for me. Anyway, Knowing is the latest film by Alex Proyas, most known for directing The Crow and the lame adaption of I, Robot starring Will Smith. Is his latest venture into sci-fi film worth checking out? Not really...

The film follows John Koestler, a widower, father, and professor of astrophysics. Bitter because of the sudden death of his wife, John tries his best to live a stable life with his partially deaf son in suburban America. Things change for the quiet family when the local school opens up a time capsule from 1959, and Caleb uncovers a paper with seemingly random numbers printed all over it. It turns out this paper belonged a supposedly mentally ill girl, Lucinda, who claimed to hear messages from "The Whisperers". It doesn't long for John to find out, though, that these numbers aren't random at all - they're a code for every natural disaster since 1959 until the end of time.

The concept is admittedly interesting, though falls flat with how convoluted the plot is. Nothing seems to happen for a legitimate reason, with every event really feeling more like an M. Night Shyamalan twist. "Oh, it turns out ALIENZ wrote this list!!1!!!" "NO WAT! Teh alienz er actually angel-like Creatures?!!!" "OMGOSH iz a prophecy!!!!" Yuck.

There isn't really anything worth mentioning about the characters. Cage is your alcoholic father, his character's son is the impaired kid who has a special ability, Diana is your connection to the "last time this happened", etc. and so forth. It's all been done before and better. In fact, I bet that ANY episode of The Twilight Zone about the apocalypse could easily beat this film in every aspect.

If I can give the film anything, it's that the visuals are striking and rendered pretty well. When a plane crashes in the film, you can feel the emotional impact of such an event. You see flaming people, you hear ghastly crying and moaning, it's all quite a sight. There's also an event where a subway train crashes, which - while not as impacting as the plane - is still quite an impact to watch. Not much else to say about that, other than the spaceship at the end looked pretty alright.

This isn't to say the movie completely sucks, as it doesn't, because it does have its moments. For instance, the beginning sequence with Lucinda in 1959 was pretty interesting, and I thought the film looked promising at this point. In fact, I thought this film might not be half-bad until the cliche deus ex machima kicked in 20 minutes inwards. Also, the actor who portrayed John's good friend was really quite funny, despite barely having any screen time. If only the film had had him as the main character...

Speaking of the film's content, the film seemed to dramatically change halfway through. At first, it appears the movie made be a disaster film with a sci-fi twist, though this completely changes later on. Then, after some indiscernible moment, the film turns more into a conspiracy sci-fi, proposing the connections between God and science. It's not that I disagree with the latter theme, it's just that it really seemed to come out of nowhere.

Knowing has its moments visually and the concept is fascinating, but the convoluted story really bogs the movie down. Instead of allowing things to flow naturally, everything seems to be a plot twist - almost like a sci-fi National Treasure, if you'll forgive the broad comparison.

4/10 - Poor

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