Release Date: March 20th, 2009
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The year is 1959 and it is the grand opening of William Dawes Elementary School. In commemoration of the event, a group of students are asked to draw pictures of what they think the future will look like. Some students draw spaceships, others draw robots, but one girl does something very different. Little Lucinda Wayland furiously covers her paper from corner to corner with numbers. Fifty years in the future, a new group of students opens the time capsule and each student receives an envelope to open and explore. Lucinda's paper ends up in the hands of Caleb Koestler. When Caleb takes the paper home, his astro-physicist father, John Koestler(Nicholas Cage). That night, John deciphers the numbers and realizes a frightening thing; the numbers predict the day, month, year, casualty number, and exact location of every disaster over the last fifty years. But there are three occurrences that have yet to happen. When mysterious men keep showing up and harassing John and Caleb, John slowly begins to realize that the last disaster on the list is one on a world-wide scale and that him and his son are somehow involved. With the help of Lucinda's daughter Diana(Rose Byrne) and granddaughter Abby, John embarks on a mission to prevent these disasters from occurring.
One of the first suspense films of the year and one that was on my top summer movies list, Knowing was a movie I was excited for. I happy to say that my excitement was not in vain. It begs the timeless question "Is it better to know the future?" The movie started off slow, but in a good way. It started with the emergence of the mysterious numbers and a very creepy little girl. First of all, little kids in movies like this are always creepy, and this one was no different. When the numbers reached the hands of Nicholas Cage, the story really started to unravel and pick up the pace. The whole scene of Cage discovering what the numbers mean, was very intense. As Cage furiously scrolled through disaster after disaster, matching each one with a sequence of numbers. After Cage realizes that there are three sets of numbers which have yet to happen, he realizes he has to do something.
This movie isn't short on action or suspense. The entire movie is like one big suspense ride that always has you saying "Whats going to happen?" It also has its fair share of twists. When Cage's character shows the numbers to his friend, they realize that there are some numbers after the dates that are unused and only realize later what they mean, which may become obvious to some but will leave others, like myself, saying "Ohhhh, that makes sense." There is also the mysterious men that keep appearing. These men, who have ghostly pale complexions and dress in all black, randomly appear throughout the movie, making contact with Cage's son. But its not until the three future events start to happen that the action goes into overdrive. The first event happens when Cage is on his way to pick up his son from school. A traffic jam on the highway from a car wreck leaves Cage wondering if this is the event. When he goes to investigate, a plane falls from the sky, crashes into some power lines, and finally erupts into a massive fireball upon hitting the ground. The special effects delivered by the plane crash were pretty impressive. In fact, most of the special effects left me going "whoa." One of the craziest things was after the plane crashed. Nicholas Cage goes to look for survivors and finds people coming out of the wreckage covered in flames and screaming in agony. The only bad part about this scene was that the fire on the debris and plane was very unrealistic. You could clearly tell the fire was animated not just by looking at but by the Cage's reaction to it. At some points he would just reach in or over the fire without any reaction, basically acting like the fire wasn't even there.
The action continued with a subway train coming off the tracks and slamming head on into another train on-loading passengers. This kind of action and suspense was common throughout the whole movie which definitely kept the audience attracted. But,despite my dreams of a movie being perfect, this movie does have some flaws. One of my biggest flaws with the movie was the role of Cage's son, Caleb. The character was fairly young, elementary level. Now, the bad thing was that the kid was trying to act more mature than his age. He talked and acted like he was trying to be an adult which, for me, made me look at him and say to myself "Shut up and stop trying to act older." I also had a problem with the acting done by Rose Byrne, who played Diana Wayland. Her acting was way over the top and reminded me of a bad soap opera. There was a particular part in the movie that was a dramatic part and Byrne pretty much ruined it with sporadic an hysterical screaming which did not sit right with the scene.
This movie also tried to add a sci-fi/religious aspect to the purpose of the disasters which, for me, never became clear as to which it was, either sci-fi or religious. On the one side you have Nicholas Cage's character who is the atheist alcoholic son of a preacher. He does not believe in Heaven, Hell, or God. Then you have Lucinda Wayland, the author of the numbers. While we never see her after the very beginning, due to the fact she is dead when you move to present times, you do travel to the place of her death, a small trailer in the middle of nowhere. Upon investigating the trailer, Cage finds a picture on a wall along with articles of all the disasters. The picture is that of a story from the Bible, out of the book of Ezekiel. It is the image of a man receiving a prophecy from God. While you have these religious aspects, Cage's character adds sci-fi parts, typically with life on other planets. He talks to his son about other planets and aliens, and at the end of the movie, you find out that the mysterious men are something other than human.
But, despite these minute negatives, this movie was very good. It was directed well, the special effects were excellent and the acting was good for the most part. If you are looking for a good suspense/action/thriller/sci-fi movie, or are a huge Nicholas Cage fan, then you should definitely check out Knowing. It has a good and interesting plot and enough suspense and action to satisfy even the hardcore action fans. I give Knowing 8 Horrible Disasters out of 10.
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