Director: Alex Proyas
Cast: Nicolas Cage, Rose Byrne, Andrienne
Pickering, Chandler Canterbury
RunTime: 2 hrs 2mins
Released By: Shaw
Rating: PG (Some Intense Sequences and Disturbing
Official Website: http://knowing-themovie.com/
Day: 9 April 2009
Academy Award® Winner Nicolas Cage ("National Treasure:
Book of Secrets," "Leaving Las Vegas") stars
in "Knowing," a gripping action-thriller of global
proportions about a professor who stumbles on terrifying predictions
about the future and sets out to prevent them from coming
1958, as part of the dedication ceremony for a new elementary
school, a group of students is asked to draw pictures to be
stored in a time capsule. But one mysterious girl fills her
sheet of paper with rows of apparently random numbers instead.
years later, a new generation of students examines the capsule's
contents and the girl's cryptic message ends up in the hands
of young Caleb Koestler. But it is Caleb's father, professor
John Koestler (Nicolas Cage), who makes the startling discovery
that the encoded message predicts with pinpoint accuracy the
dates, death tolls and coordinates of every major disaster
of the past 50 years. As John further unravels the document's
chilling secrets, he realizes the document foretells three
additional events - the last of which hints at destruction
on a global scale and seems to somehow involve Ted and his
son. When Ted's attempts to alert the authorities fall on
deaf ears, he takes it upon himself to try to prevent more
destruction from taking place.
the reluctant help of Diana Wayland (Rose Byrne) and Abby
Wayland, the daughter and granddaughter of the now-deceased
author of the prophecies, Ted's increasingly desperate efforts
take him on a heart-pounding race against time until he finds
himself facing the ultimate disaster - and the ultimate sacrifice.
How much you like Knowing will depend on how much you are
willing to accept its premise. And I’m not talking about
the numbers. No, you would believe that you had just stepped
into a science-fiction thriller, wondering how it is that
someone could have predicted every major disaster on the face
of the planet.
Knowing is only half about that, because the second half of
the movie veers into an entirely more terrifying prospect.
Indeed, as Nicolas Cage’s character John Koestler finds
out, there are only three more natural disasters yet to have
happened on the piece of paper his son receives from a time
capsule the school buried 50 years ago. What happens at the
end of those numbers? I won’t spoil anything else for
you, just to warn you that how much you like the movie from
that point on depends on your personal convictions.
thing about Alex Proyas’ Knowing is that it is only
disguised as a popcorn-friendly movie. This, however, it certainly
is not. Instead, it is designed to be creepy and unnerving.
Who are those eerie people in black suits and blond hair that
seem to be after John Koestler’s son Caleb (Chandler
Canterbury)? What are those voices that we are hearing whispering
to Caleb? What is the meaning of those visions and nightmares
that Caleb’s been having?
after you tell yourself that you’ve seen it all before,
Proyas ups the ante by staging two frighteningly real disaster
sequences that will have you staring wide-eyed in shock at
the screen.- the first involving a plane crash and the second
a collision between two underground subway trains. Yes, in
both, John Koestler will be present on the scene to witness
those terrifying events. And no, nothing he does manages to
prevent them from happening.
is what differentiates Alex Proyas’ film from the countless
other disaster movies before it. It is calculated to be a
thinking man’s movie because it forces you to ask yourself
about the very nature of events that happen around us. Is
life simply a random series of events, or are things in life
determined? It is a question that can be very much unsettling,
simply because it hints at how much control we really have
over our own individual fates.
Alex Proyas builds his argument steadily towards the second
act of the film when it all begins to make sense. (At least
for those who would believe it.) Nevertheless, you have to
hand it to director Alex Proyas and his team of screenwriters
(Ryne Douglas Pearson, Juliet Snowden and Stiles White) for
their audacity to mount such a bold and daring conclusion,
probably knowing fair well how it will polarize their audiences.
for their bravado then, since Nicolas Cage is surprisingly
unremarkable in his role as the MIT professor who stumbles
upon the prophecy. Usually the reliable actor, his unfortunate
wooden acting fails to allow the father-son bond in the movie
to reach the level of poignancy it should. Just as disappointing
is Rose Bryne who fails to earn the audience’s sympathy
with her petrified act, which unfortunately gets rather grating
and annoying especially towards the end.
Knowing is a movie that belongs to its director, Alex Proyas.
Science fiction films have always been Proyas’ forte,
noted especially for his work on Dark City and The Crow. While
Knowing is by no means his best work, it certainly deserves
merit for raising some truly thought-provoking questions,
even though I suspect that its answer to those questions will
not go down well with everyone.
(Knowing is no summer popcorn movie- it is a thinking
man’s science fiction film, one that has the derring-do
to pose and answer its own provocative question)
Review by Gabriel Chong