Knowing

july 11, 2009

"Knowing" is one of those films that you either love or you hate.  The film starts off normally and a bit flat -- mainly because of Nicolas Cage's phoned-in performance.  But, it is near the end that you will either say to yourself, "Whoa, that's cool" or "Ugh, this is crap."  I am guessing most people will go with the latter.

I am a fan of the director's (Alex Proyas) less-than-mainstream work, "The Crow" and "Dark City", so I was signed on from the beginning.  To try to describe what Knowing is about will only spoil the film.  The commercials and previews really do spoil a lot of it, so if you have seen them, you know the basis:  There is a sheet of paper with numbers on it that predict disasters in the world.  But, if you think that is it for the film, you're really wrong.

So, the movie is a sci-fi movie with some religion stirred in for taste.  The two disasters that you see in the commercials are only a tiny bit of what happens in the movie.  The airliner crash is spectacular in the movie, causing me to gasp and rewind to see it again.  The subway crash was also spectacular.  But, the stuff that is done at the end of the movie -- those special effects are top of the line.

That's not to say that the movie is all about special effects, the story is decent also.  The film opens in 1959 with a little girl scrawling the numbers onto a piece of paper -- she hears voices.  That paper gets put into a time capsule that is unearthed 50 years later, and that is where things start to pick up.  Nicolas Cage plays the father of the child that gets the sheet of numbers.  In a drunken fit, he actually decodes the numbers and figures out that there are three disasters left.  Along the way, he discovers the daughter of the little girl at the beginning of the movie -- together they unravel the story of the troubled little girl and what the disasters really mean.  Cage's character is an astrophysicists, go figure why his character was written as that profession.

The movie does not move along at a rapid pace.  It slowly builds up, and I might add that the pickup is really slow at points.  Near the 1 hour and 15 minute mark, I was starting to get impatient with the film.  The payoff was good at the end, but I think the film could have been paced a bit better.

Overall, I enjoyed the film.  You will have to see it yourself and decide yourself though.  This is not a crowd pleaser by any means.  I would recommend it as a rental.