Published Mar 20, 2009If disasters could be predicted, Knowing would never have been made. Though director Alex Proyas (Dark City, I, Robot) manages to create a creepy tension that overcomes many of the script's shortcomings in the first two acts, the film ultimately falls victim to an absurd story and a predictability that doesn't require psychic abilities to foresee.
Newly widowed single parent and M.I.T. astrophysicist John Koestler (Nicolas Cage) and his hearing-impaired son Caleb (Chandler Canterbury) are struggling with their loss. John, a rational minded scientist who abandoned the faith instilled in him by his estranged pastor father, is determined to make it through his crisis without succumbing to his childhood faith. When Caleb's school unearths a time capsule buried by students 50 years earlier and discovers a strange list of numbers that seems to indicate the dates and co-ordinates of major world disasters, John must find a rational, scientific explanation. Then, shadowy figures begin following John and Caleb, and the race is on to discover the meaning of the numbers before the final date that indicates the end of the world.
If you've seen the commercials for Knowing then you'll probably know the entire plot before you check your local listings. While the film starts out strong, with some truly chilling moments, including a plane crash that's both shockingly horrific and absurdly amusing, the story collapses under the weight of its inconsistencies. Nicolas Cage continues his quest to perfect his role as "the guy who looks and acts a lot like Nicolas Cage" but his McActing is outshined by co-star Rose Byrne, whose performance as "woman who panics and screams" will make you want to panic and run screaming from the theatre.
Knowing might make for an entertaining DVD rental, as a comfortable couch and the ability to make wise-ass comments without bothering the people around you will go a long way to smoothing over some of the film's problems. But there's no need to go rushing to the theatre for this one. (E1)