Knowing Alex Proyas

Knowing Alex Proyas
In his latest half-baked star vehicle (and pay check), Nicolas Cage plays John Koestler, an MIT astrophysics prof whose "shit happens" approach to issues of meaning and causality in the universe is seriously jeopardized when he finds a sheet of paper containing numbers coinciding with every major natural and man-made disaster of the past 50 years. After getting half-soused and cracking the code, he realizes that the final numbers predict a major solar flare that threatens to incinerate our humble planet. Ironic hack appeal aside, in the past few years there's never been a real threat that anything the once-golden Nic Cage stars in might be worth seeing. Ditto Knowing. From its preposterous enough premise, which is somehow more preposterously executed (including aliens who may or may not be angels, or vice versa), Knowing rests near the moronic intersection of the school of Roland Emmerich disaster flicks and Joel Schumacher's The Number 23. The film's centrepiece is a three minute long take that has Cage navigating the smouldering wreckage of downed aircraft. It's a decently composed shot, but compared to anything from Children of Men (or any Robert Altman movie), it's as unremarkable as whatever else Knowing offers up. At some level the movie might be redeemable in light of its sheer conceptual lunacy. But only barely. A featurette on the DVD entitled Visions of the Apocalypse attempts to connect Knowing to present day fears of ecological catastrophe and the end of the world. But director Alex Proyas (The Crow, Dark City) blows everything up to the point that any stabs at social relevance (or plausibility) are rendered outrageous. The disc also features a phoned-in commentary by Proyas and a making-of doc that mostly works to pay lip service to Cage, whose own star is fading faster than this film's imminently exploding sun. (E1)