General Release 2009
121 minutes approx
John Koestler -
Caleb Koestler -
Diana Wayland -
The Stranger -
Directed by -
Written by -
Ryne Douglas Pearson, Juliet Snowden, Stiles White and Stuart Hazeldine
In 1959, the kids at a newly opened primary school in the Us bury their images of the future in a time capsule. Fifty years later, the time capsule is dug up and young Caleb ends up not with a picture but with two pages of random numbers. Caleb's widowed father John happens to be a lecturer at MIT and discovers a pattern inside the numbers that identifies the dates of major disasters, number of casualties and location. There are three more listed and so John tries to persuade others that what he sees is true, but he needs to contact the daughter of the girl who wrote the numbers to try and sovle the final mystery - what happens when the numbers run out?
Nicolas Cage's recent record in the science ficton genre is a pretty poor one. With the less-than-terrific trio of THE WICKER MAN, NEXT and GHOST RIDER to his name, he has a lot to make up for, but KNOWING is a step in the right direction. The original premise is interesting and the unravelling of the mystery works quite well right up until the revelation of what exactly is going to happen when the numbers run out.
Unfortunately, it doesn't end there. Throughout the film there are strangers in the woods around the family home and both their identity and purpose is obvious from the beginning. Director Proyas gives everything away by making them exactly like the background characters from WINGS OF DESIRE. He also borrows heavily from the likes of AI-ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE and THE ABYSS for the big parting scene. The religious allusions are also extremely heavy-handed.
There is, however, some fairly serious destruction on view (plane crash, subway train pile up, forest fire), though the variable quality of the special effects undermines that in places. Ironically, though, for a film that improves on Cage's record it is the lead actor himself who proves to be the weakest part of the movie. As the bereaved husband and struggling father, he looks mainly like he couldn't be bothered to wake up fully in order to do the day's acting. Rose Byrne, in barely a quarter of the running time, makes more of an impact and more of a likeable, and believable, character than Cage manages.
If you can suspend disbelief enough, or need a shot of science fiction whilst waiting for something better to come along then KNOWING is an adequate enough time passer, but if you want to see how this film really should have been done then check out Julianne Moore's excellent THE FORGOTTEN on DVD instead.Top
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