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Review: Knowing

Knowing
Mar. 22, 2009by:
3 10

PLOT: John Koestler lives with his only son Caleb, far away from the world. After the death of his wife, he protects the young boy while he is seemingly afraid to let him grow. When a time capsule is opened at Calebs school, John finds a letter that his son is given at the event. It contain a series of numbers that may coincide with a series of disasters that happened throughout the world. And when John finds corresponding numbers in the letter relating to 9/11, he begins to research what the numbers may mean. Soon, he finds that the end of the world may be coming sooner than anyone thought.

REVIEW: The one thing I can say in all certainty about the latest Nicolas Cage film KNOWING, is that it is better than THE WICKER MAN remake. But not by much. Alex Proyas has created some visually stunning films including the superb DARK CITY and of course, THE CROW. He has a way of merging humanity with science fiction in a very satisfying way. So maybe that is why this new suspense-less religious thriller is so unsatisfying and predictable. It is dark, clumsy and plodding and it oftentimes feels as if it should have been a SciFi Channel feature presentation. Yes, there are a couple of major set pieces that are well done, but they felt cold and empty without any real power or emotion. This includes a plane crash that makes for a very visceral experience, but a surprisingly un-involving one. Another such moment has a group of subway passengers finding themselves in harms way during a horrifying accident. I had more thoughts as to the CG that went into each of these sequences, rather than the actual experience of terror.

So you have a couple of frightening images, but what else did Knowing have to offer? Well, it revolves around a widower named John Koestler (Cage) and his young son Caleb (Chandler Canterbury). The first problem I had with this story is the lack of real connection between father and child. Yes, some of that should be expected as it made sense for the story arc itself, but it was really more than that. I will say that Canterbury is really good here as a young man dealing with an alcoholic father, his lost mother, and some creepy blonde men that seem to follow him around and whisper things. But John just comes across as a dim father figure who pays more attention to a series of numbers that was found in a time capsule at his sons school. Each scene plays into what will ultimately be the final act, with not so subtle clues which are offered every chance they get. While Proyas is able to make it all look good, the script falls seriously flat and never lives up to the promise that it might have delivered.

This is a religious drama that leaves very little to mystery. And the key to a film like this is the unknown, just check out the strange and haunting film called THE RAPTURE. While the two films have little in common aside from the spiritual angle, the Mimi Rodgers starring film feels very personal and thus you feel invested in the story. Knowing shared a similar theme, yet not a single step that Koestler took to find answers felt legit or warranted. It is basically a by the numbers story about the end of the world, but thankfully, it isnt necessarily all that preachy. Yet it is also not very personal. When John locates the daughter of a woman that seems to have prophesized several disasters, the story delves further and further into this hard to swallow story of the apocalypse. The woman in question is played by Rose Byrne. Both her and Mr. Cage are fine as the faithless ones who may just find out that there is something they are missing in their lives. But the saving grace are the two young actors, Canterbury and Lara Robinson. I think the story would have been better served focusing on their story as opposed to the adult actors.

During the final few moments, I found myself so emotionally unattached as to what was going on. And that truly surprised me. I wont give away what happens, but usually a father and son talk like that really affects me hook, line and sinker. Maybe it was the sheer predictable nature of what is to come, or maybe it was the not so deeply felt chemistry between Cage and Canterbury. But either way, I just didnt care. Again, I have to say that this could have been a much more fascinating story coming from the two young actors. But since it relied heavily on Nic Cage and Rose Byrne, I felt very little when it came to the final outcome. Aside from the fact it is not hard to see that it will end the way it does. While the film may not be a disaster, it remains empty inside as the ideas of the apocalypse and the power of God and his angels seemed quaint instead of fascinating. You have so many ideas that are carried throughout KNOWING, but none of them work as well as they should have. This is a mediocre attempt to bring thought to an audience in the form of entertainment. A weak, clichd and emotionless film that seems to be full of grand ideas. However, none of which carry through to make this more than just a slightly below average thriller with a message.

My rating 3/10 -- JimmyO

Source: JoBlo.com

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