Reviews

Knowing

2

Nic Cage tries to save the world. Fails.

“How am I supposed to stop the end of the world?” sighs Nicolas Cage in his latest high-concept actioner.

Well, it might help if his widowed astrophysicist told a few more people about the mysterious list of digits he’s discovered that, when correctly decoded, gives the precise date of an impending apocalypse.

Instead he hares about solo, trying with no great success to prevent the various portents of Doomsday – a plane crash here, a subway disaster there – that give Alex Proyas’ film its rare flashes of excitement.

You’d have thought he’d at least leave a note for the milkman or, given the devastating solar flares heading in Earth’s direction, tell his neighbours to stock up on sun-block.

But just how did Cage come into possession of those freaky numbers? Ah, therein lies a mildly diverting tale involving an unearthed time capsule from 1959, a soothsaying little girl who hears voices and a bunch of spooky albinos who follow Nic and his young son around like silent stalkers.

It also brings him into contact with Troy’s Rose Byrne, so overwrought as a single mother caught up in the action that Armageddon simply can’t come fast enough. (“We’ve got to save the children!” she shrieks hysterically in one of her calmer moments.)

That it’s coming at all, of course, suggests Proyas may have a wider message to impart: some eco-conscious warning about the damage we’re doing to the planet, perhaps, or a reminder to embrace life while we have it.

In truth, however, Knowing has a far more insidious agenda: to convince non-believers like Cage, an embittered, alcoholic atheist since his wife’s death, there is intelligent design in the universe.

“My scientific mind is telling me I should have nothing to do with this!” says Nic’s MIT pal Ben Mendelsohn. Your critical mind may well be telling you the same thing…

Neil Smith

Film Details

User Reviews

    • duncan1964

      Mar 26th 2009, 11:14

      2

      Starts out OK. Slightly creepy and unsettling, but then two thirds of the way in it takes a right turn into the utterly preposterous. Nic Cage does his best, but basically this is another turkey to add to his ever expanding canon

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    • ross1608

      Mar 26th 2009, 17:36

      4

      very good no brainer

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    • graham6

      Mar 27th 2009, 13:16

      3

      This was a big disappointment. It promised so much, yet provided so little. It all looks great when you consider the costs, but Alex Proyas is nowhere near beating his direction of I.Robot from 2004. Ok, but too many plot holes.

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    • graham6

      Mar 27th 2009, 13:18

      3

      This was a diappointment. It promised so much, yet provided so little. It all looks spectacular, and performances are good, but the plot has too many holes too truly enjoying 'Knowing.'

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    • lozashoates

      Mar 28th 2009, 8:53

      2

      This film looked like it would have you on the edge of the seat throughout, I was on the edge of my seat but waiting to get out of there. From the moment he all of a sudden looked at the piece of paper and amazingly worked out what the numbers went, was the point it started going downhill for me. You get the feeling that the music they play throughout the fill was used to trying and build the tension but even that failed. From when it was revealed who these men who were following Cage the film turned into a joke, people were actually laughing out loud as they could believe how stupid the film was going. It should of gone straight to dvd.

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    • MoneyPenny

      Mar 30th 2009, 11:11

      1

      I was so looking forward to this film, the trailers looking action packed and cleverly produced....unfortunately the trailers proved more entertaining than the actual film. I enjoy apocalyptic films hoping the reality never happens, luckily this film is so unbelievable I feel safe for another few years at least..

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    • joeymac

      Apr 1st 2009, 13:56

      2

      Bog standard Cage bilge. Less than good but not as bad as Next. In search of spooky and sci-fi? Try Communion. Christopher Walken will make you fill your knickers, and he's the goodie! Note to self: must remember not to watch films on strength of trailer. Read Total FIlm review before wasting cash.

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    • ptb2009

      Apr 4th 2009, 17:12

      1

      Interesting until the mid way when it enters the utterly preposterous and finishes in the most overblown way CGI can imagine. And out of all the millions in the USA why would intelligent life chose Nicolas Cage's son to save?

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    • ROLLERGIRL76

      Apr 4th 2009, 19:50

      2

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    • JordanCDarwin

      Apr 13th 2009, 16:03

      2

      This film illustrates a poorly executed attempt at trying to produce a convincing apocalypse story, only to be tripped up by it's own premise. Cage, a mathematics professor (who seems to discuss an awful lot too much philosophy and mysticism in his class rather than calculus) stumbles upon a set of scribblings written by a girl with unusual behavioural tendencies and immediately notices that these relate to actual accidents from the past and accurately denote the deaths. Here lies the first problem; Cage sets out to validate these dates, and immediately finds on his first search, news articles which -- hey presto -- give the exact number of the deaths in an accident. In most news articles, the number of deaths even in long-passed accidents are merely estimates and the real number of the deceased cannot with ultimate certainty be determined. So if the numbers predict this number of casualties, then is she merely predicting what the authorities or newspapers suspect are the deceased? Well, that doesn't matter to Cage; this paper is working like gangbusters. Soon after this paper-thin farce of a revelation, he -- to draw emphasis on the fact that he is a professor of MATHEMATICS -- is gradually falling apart. Hours are spent at his stylish iMac desktop, compiling anecdotal evidence. Later, we find out that Cage is actually the archetypal atheist. Because he's just simply lacking faith, and because he is deluded, he simply decided to join the ranks of those blasphemous evildoers. Right. Gradually, what little of the plot that isn't being over-crammed with boring and ineffectual personal relationships becomes filled with ridiculous contrivances until it eventually peaks at the point where Cage finds out that this all stems from, and can be alleviated by -- the bible. This film simply treats sciences and mathematics as though they are simply little dalliances and parlour games which we play in order to separate ourselves from the supposed overwhelming and universal truth and redemption that the bible provides. Cage is thoroughly unconvincing, as is this film, in which America seems to resemble the entire world, and Cage's home state has more accidents in one week than a destruction derby on steroids. At several points, Cage's character appears at the exact point of an impending accident despite the fact that he has only arbitrary dates and numbers to work from. This, along with many many many other reasons are reason enough to say -- SKIP IT!

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    • JordanCDarwin

      Apr 13th 2009, 16:05

      1

      Oops, I forgot that he was a professor of Astrophysics rather than mathematics. Still, the same applies :)

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    • misscadbury

      Apr 14th 2009, 19:02

      3

      All until the rubbish ending, the film was great!!! There were a few "jumpy" parts, which my friends and I enjoyed!! However, the ending was extremely unconvincing!!! Up until this point I would have happily purchased the film on DVD.

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    • Bullsi

      Apr 18th 2009, 17:52

      2

      This could have been turned into a fantastic horror/thriller, providing a few tweaks in the story (and nicholas cage becoming a better actor, but then again pigs might fly). The disaster scenes along with the mysteriousness of the albino stalker people and the suspense of the plot, keeps your eyes and ears glued to the screen. Then it all unfolds in the most unconvincing and WORST ending since IJ-The Kingdom of The Crystal Skull.

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    • duncan1964

      May 15th 2009, 14:27

      2

      Hard to know what to say about this. The trailer is very misleading, and while the storyline about disasters makes the first half quite creepy and entertaining, the film takes a turn at the half way mark that leads to it being staggeringly awful - and I do mean STAGGERINGLY awful. It gets one star for the plane crash, and one for the tube train incident.

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    • PabloDiablo

      Jun 30th 2009, 14:59

      2

      Knowing was a film I had absolutley no hopes for, and if I could have kept it that way, I would have saved myself a lot of disappointment. The saddest part is, the film does well to draw you into an ever-so-slightly ridiculous idea- by way of a time capsule message left fifty years ago containing a list of numbers that apparently predict ever major disaster up to and including the end of the world- that you really do start to believe that it could go somewhere. Add to this some suitably creepy, white-faced, black-suited, whispery villians straight out of a horror movie, and colour me more than slightly intrigued. This was apparently not your standard Roland Emmerich "look at what we're doing to our planet, for God's sake!" message that has been hashed out so many time and considered ample reason to blow s**t up. Then there are the set pieces, which were amazingly well done. I gaped as the plane came out of the sky, and was absolutley amazed when instead of the expected cut, the camera followed Cage into the harrowing wreckage to show the full horror of what had happened. This of course, did much to add to impact of Cage's protagonist sense of helplessness with his own inabilty to stop the events he's predicting. Still, as the film went on, I couldn't help but feel like I was witnessing the product of a bunch of fanboys sitting in a conference room, slapping each other on the back and j**zing in their pants over their own awesomeness, before realising that no one had even thought about the ending to their movie. I had honestly hoped that Nic would get to the end and realise that nothing could be done, that all along the "whisper people" were ice cold messengers of fate, taunting him with a list of disasters that he was never intended to prevent, culminating in the final apocalypse, and all the while Cage finds himself knowing, and being able to do nothing. I really hoped this was the point of it all, and if it were, Proyas film would have won many brownie points for having the balls to be so bold. A harrowing message that sometimes you can have the ultimate knowledge and still be absolutely powerless. These hopes for such a ballsy finish were dashed with the final clanging revelation as to the origins of those darn "whisper people". Watch and witness the collective sigh and sag of disappointment in everyone around you. All I can say is- shame on you. It's slap on the wrist time. That's all you could come up with? The sad part is, a smart cut could be made to remove this preposterous finish entirely, with the whisper people being left as the harbingers of doom they should have been. Something tells me the studio wouldn't have went for the pitch of an inevitable apocalypse with absolutley no glimmer of hope, but surely anything would hae been better than this. As for Nic Cage, this isn't as bad as his uber-clanger The Wicker Man ("not the bees!"), but still his acting is at times so bad, its easy to forget that he has actually been pretty good in the past. The kids are precocious, whiny and utterly unlikeable, and the "you and me together forever" will have you reaching for the sick bag looong before the plane crashes. And absolutely no love interest at all between Cage and po-faced hysteric Rose Byrne, who becomes so annoying that by the end you're hoping for a solar flare to hit her square in the face. The promise of a film that could have risen above the dregs of its genre lies disappointingly unfulfilled, but I guess I should have known.

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    • Phoenix81

      Jul 28th 2009, 15:07

      3

      Could have been so much better - Wish Cage would stop doing blockbusters, I hate him in them

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    • Chrisic

      Aug 6th 2009, 2:07

      2

      Proyas seems so keen to divulge into the gripping mysteries of the planet, that he quite frankly forgets how to make a film. The plot is essentially ripped from the Bible, which consequently raises the level of interest without too much effort. Knowing promises so much more than it delivers and throughout the narrative I couldn't help but feel that this was Proyas' interests incorporated onto screen. Despite this, Knowing drags you deeper and deeper into its black hole of emptiness simply because the plot is timeless in its reference to the Bible and theories that have expanded from our minds. Cage's battle with the basic human instinct to question why we are here is enough to keep you seated for nearly two hours but Knowing is missing key elements, which sadly tarnishes an overall dismal film.

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    • captainchod

      Mar 2nd 2010, 14:13

      3

      Vaguely Enjoyable film with a daft ending. Thanks again Nic Cage!

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    • sakura132

      Dec 31st 2010, 6:19

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