Knowing (2009)

DVD Cover (Summit Entertainment)
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Overall Rating 62%
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Ranked #624
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What will the world look like 50 years from now? That was the question back in 1959, when the pupils of an elementary school were asked to contribute their ideas on paper for the school's time capsule. The years have passed, and now, in the same school, Caleb Koestler, the son of widowed astrophysicist John, attends the time-capsule-opening event, and receives a dull drawing consisting of mysterious random numbers. The author was Lucinda, a troubled child whose mind was riddled with whispers and strange voices and now her paper is in Caleb's hands. Intrigued by this inexplicable conundrum, John attempts to decipher the string of numbers which seem to be references to dates and death tolls over a period of the last 50 years, with the concluding three sets of numbers pointing to the imminent future. With Caleb's mental health quickly deteriorating as he too is bombarded by the voices inside his mind and the increasing visions of Biblical disasters, how can a single father help his troubled child and the rest of the world? --IMDb
Nicolas Cage
Nicolas Cage
Chandler Canterbury
Chandler Canterbury
Rose Byrne
Rose Byrne
Lara Robinson
Lara Robinson
D.G. Maloney
D.G. Maloney
Review by Ginose
Added: March 23, 2009
Alex Proyas? Really? Yeah, well, if you're at all like me, and loved "Dark City" more than you thought you could love a sci-fi fantasy, then you might have been surprised to see that he even had a movie coming to theatres (I sure as hell was). However, I'm sure the true kicker here, for me, was the fact that this was going to be another one of Proyas' personal projects. Generally I can hook on to something from a director much more confidently knowing that they wrote and produced it, as well. This thought comes from the simple reasoning that a director had better be very confident or have MASSIVE balls to release a potentially unprofitable movie. That in mind, and to keep myself from expanding on this metaphor any farther, I say this: Alex Proyas must walk very carefully.

During the opening of a new elementary school in 1959, a contest is held to rally an idea o n how to commemorate this... achievement... huh... but a girl named Lucinda sparks the winning idea of burying a time-capsule to be opened in 50 years, and the students get to submit drawings of what they believe the future will look like. Lucinda, however, has been hearing something odd and insists on filling her piece of paper with a series of numbers (and, yes, it's obviously buried anyway). Finally, at the capsule's unveiling in 2009, a boy named Caleb is given the envelope with Lucinda's "message", and promptly suggests to his father, MIT astrophysics professor John Koestler, that he believes it to be a number-puzzle of some kind and, after a night of drinking and obnoxiously mourning his recently deceased wife, John soon discovers that his son was right, in a way, and soon finds patterns that have the paper listing every horrific event and tragedy to befall the world in the last 50 years... with three left to go...

Whether or not you can tell, this plot isn't much. It's not very deep, it's not very involved, and it's not very original, and, wow, how Proyas thought this movie would make much money by being both moderately shallow AND lacking in the special effects that masses of people normally see these movies for, but I'll be damned if the finished project wasn't everything it could be and more... however, as I've discovered and you would by watching this, it's far from enough to make the movie truly "good".

To call "Knowing" a bad movie is... well, it's close, but I just couldn't find myself saying that when I left it. Sure it hit a lot of clichés that I don't care for, and, yes, it is another one of those disaster movies with a spontaneous/stupid twist ending. Yet, as I watched the film a funny thing came to mind: I'm interested. There are no real plot-turns you don't expect and there was certainly unique about the idea or even how it was executed, but, in this simplicity, the movie makes a few bounds that really pulled it up for me.

A few more notable aspects of the film are the clever insertion of the prophetic visions throughout. Truly they didn't have much impact on the overall outcome, and, even truer, they probably could have been cut overall, but they charmed me into wanting to see how it all ended (despite my massive distaste for over-abundance of CGI in a typical disaster movie) and even had me second guessing a few things that I'd already expected. Aside from the aforementioned scenes there is another huge gold star to slap on this one would be for the magnificent sound-design. Maybe a lot of this magic will be watered down in the DVD cut, but it made the entire experience for me... get some surround sound, or something... seriously... now...

Hell, I'm not even going to put any huge marks against the acting, here. Yes, this will be FAR from the Academy's mind this year, but there wasn't a performance here that... didn't... feel like it needed to be there... huh. I really can't make that sound right. Nicholas Cage (as John) gives us the usual "three-palettes of emotion" here, but it felt really spot-on when he darted from one scene of grief and confusion to a mass of tears on the ground without any sort of... emotion to be found. It's like he's playing characters that seem practically as dead as he is inside, lately. A low-blow perhaps, but I want to see him out of this rut he's been drowning in, lately... two more like "Next" and "Bangkok Dangerous" will have him cemented in that terrible realm of b-movie reality before he knows it... and that worries me.

Needless to say I only needed to see this because I wanted Proyas flexing those massive nuts of his on screen once again. He didn't have far to fall after "I, Robot", and seeing him back in his element only meant a worthy product... in theory. In actuality he's now got a so-so disaster movie with no real character and few and a bland, predictable ending.

Shine on, you maverick.

Bliss From A Dead Embrace #1: Bliss From A Dead Embrace - added 03/26/2009, 10:18 PM
i disagree. The acting could have been better. But I liked the plot and the directions the movie took as it progressed. The plane crash made you feel like u were there. 8/10
Kezia Vadimas #2: Kezia Vadimas - added 03/27/2009, 11:46 PM
I'm sure the acting could have been better.. I see the Cage name and don't bother wasting my time anymore. Give up on him Ginose, he has never been good and have given him many chances I shouldn't have to prove this. His voice is droning and he either has no soul or puts none of it into his acting. He is and has ALWAYS been flat and boring. He sucks the life out of any film he is in, it is such a shame he is still allowed to act at all.
No chance in hell I'm sitting through this crap!!! Prejudged on the grounds that Nicolas Cage is a pussy-lipped, untalented hack with a nauseating, vexatious voice that makes me wish I were born deaf or could at least forget I ever heard his droning tone. *flushing sound* 0/10
Alex P #3: Alex P - added 03/29/2009, 06:27 PM
Being a Coppola has its benefits Kez.
Griffinheart #4: Griffinheart - added 04/12/2009, 01:31 PM
Anyone else think this movie poster looks very similar to Serenity's?
Tristan #5: Tristan - added 04/12/2009, 07:20 PM
Ginose #6: Ginose - added 04/12/2009, 10:55 PM
Yeah. It doesn't.
solidsnake_2 #7: solidsnake_2 - added 04/19/2009, 12:08 AM
i think the film was interesting, and as far as acting goes, i think its pretty decent incomparison to most movies in today's industry, and the chosen actors fitted well in there role for this movie, no offence but many of you guys complain about how the acting could of been better but none of u guys are actors yourself so technically you don't have the right to complain, its true that alot of special effect is used but of all fairness in todays movie, especially american movie they rely heavily on that stuff anyway, thats what make them so famous, in terms of good acting, i think the asians do a better job, if ur gonna put the good actors in everyfilm that is gonna be released, then won,t we jus be seein the same old faces all the time. i think cage is a great actor and he have the right look for it, i think kezia statement about cage is dull, since its purely based on his opinion and as for voice, i sure his voice is more reputsive, cage must be doin decent enuff in his career, if he got offered in so many movies, i think the plot is so and so, since alot of similar movie exist, but anyway thats enuff for me.
bluemeanie #8: bluemeanie - added 05/22/2009, 02:32 PM
This film was actually quite good. It reminded me more of Proyas' older stuff. The premise was intriguing and there were some genuinely tense and frightening sequences. Nic Cage is always doing his Nic Cage impersonation but I kept finding things to like about this picture. Critics be damned, I liked it a lot. 8.5/10.
Chad #9: Chad - added 07/08/2009, 05:51 AM
bluemeanie - couldn't have put it better myself. This movie wasn't perfect and you can certainly find a few things to bitch about if you dig deep... but it's a damned entertaining film nonetheless. 9/10.
Ginose #10: Ginose - added 07/11/2009, 03:26 PM
...really, what the fuck did you guys like about it? I really don't understand. I'd call this movie "good" at best and "completely fucking forgettable and a bit pointless" at worst. The premise wasn't that interesting and the only things I'll continue to push onto people is the great art and sound design, some great effect work and a nice visual at the end. There's no real build to anything, there's hardly any suspense to be had, the premise, although fun at first, really loses wind when that list of disasters proves rather inconsistent with the "severity" of incidents. I wasn't digging for these things, they just came to mind as I watched it. It was just soooo... mediocre. I liked it, but didn't think it anything special (and nowhere near deserving a 8 or 9).

I dunno, please explain. I'm interested, because I was trying my ASS off to like this one...
Chad #11: Chad - added 07/11/2009, 05:07 PM
Let's see.... really good storyline, Nic Cage turning in a nice performance (he's always either really good or really horrible - this was one of his "on" movies), great effects, and it was an overall entertaining movie.

Of course, you rated The Blair Witch Project, Brokeback Mountain, Cloverfield, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show 1/5... so... ahem.
Ginose #12: Ginose - added 07/11/2009, 05:52 PM
I ofund the story both lacking (as in "hardly there") and predictable. As Billy Ray said, Cage did a great Nicholas Cage impression, which I liked, but didn't love. I agree, good effects, but as simple as it was it kept me entertained, just not THAT fucking entertained. Perhaps we can just chalk it up to polar-differences in what keeps us entertained, but other reviews can argue this, I just can't see where you chaps are coming from.

...is now where I re-justify my scores of the mentioned by repeating the same htings I disliked abut them again and again?
Tristan #13: Tristan - added 07/11/2009, 09:18 PM
I can see why people wouldn't like Cloverfield, but how do you hate on The Blair Witch Project, Brokeback Mountain and The Rocky Horror Picture Show. I mean seriously. Each of those are in the top of their respected genres.

After this fun little conversation, I decided to watch Knowing. I had zero interest in it before but since I'm such a good sport, I thought what the hell. I found a few hokey moments throughout, but I almost expect stuff like that from Hollywood at this point. Considering I had no interest in this movie whatsoever, I was pleasantly surprised to find it was actually pretty damn good. A good performance from Nic Cage (these are few and far between at this point), and a pretty interesting and entertaining story. 7/10 from myself.

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