Knowing is a 2009 American science fiction-disaster film directed by Alex Proyas. It stars Nicolas Cage, Chandler Canterbury, Lara Robinson, and Rose Byrne. It was originally written by novelist Ryne Douglas Pearson, and released by Escape Artists and Summit Entertainment.
Plot. The movie opens with a 1959 scene where a school makes a time capsule to be opened fifty years hence. Lucinda Embry, a girl who hears mysterious whispers, writes a page full of numbers and places it inside the time capsule. Later, Lucinda is found in a closet, her hands bloody from scratching the numbers into the door. The movie moves forward to 2009, and the time capsule is opened for the school’s eager students. Caleb, son of astrophysics professor Jonathan Koestler (played by Nicolas Cage), receives Lucinda’s page of number. Caleb is dismayed but Jonathan is intrigued, more when he notices the number sequence 911012996. He realizes that is a reference to the date and number of deaths from the September 11, 2001 attacks. Then he makes similar discoveries with the other numbers – major tragedies that struck the world for a long while. With what he learns, Jonathan finds Lucinda’s daughter, Diana, and granddaughter Abby, and reveals them his interest in Lucinda. But there are more revelations to come as Jonathan becomes witness to some disasters as predicted by the numbers. And the final tragedy will come by October 19 with the letters “EE”, meaning Everyone Else. In the MIT laboratory, Jonathan discovers that a massive solar flare will soon reach Earth – the final disaster. The voices that Caleb and Abby previously hear now have faces, being the deliverers of the “chosen one”. Both kids, along with the other chosen ones, are brought to a new world, while Jonathan and the rest of humanity face the final end.
Review. For me, Knowing is a beautiful disaster film. It combines elements of a science fiction, family drama, and suspense thriller. The storyline is clear and just like the title indicates, audience would know why and how things happen. There are mysteries but they are unambiguously answered. The film is very exciting and scenes after scenes will leave audience breathless and amazed. The film also effectively mixed science and religious ideas. In the movie, the end of the world is portrayed as a result of a huge solar flare that will burn the Earth. Yet, not everyone will die since “angels” will come and take the “chosen ones” to a new world – fresh, beautiful, and unharmed. The “vessels” somewhat represents Noah’s ark that will take pairs of humans and even animals to a safer world. The revelation in the film about the new world is sudden and unexpected that audience will find it somewhat absurd and incredulous. It is really kind of funny and the scene where children are running in the new world is quite cheesy. However, the movie still succeeds in being entertaining, engaging, and convincing.
Actor. Nicolas Cage always manages to be great and brilliant in all his films and Knowing is not an exception. The movie is actually over serious and his character as a deep, humorless “nerd” father is very far from his jolly, energetic and tough personas in other movies. Still, Cage is plausible for his performance here.
Unforgettable Scenes. The tragedies in the subway and the airplane are really the most haunting and mesmerizing part of the movie. In particular, the train disaster is very well-created that anyone will really feel the horror and drama in that scene. The end part is also really cool where the “chosen ones” are embark inside the “vessels”. This is one of the most creative things I have seen in movies.
Reception. Knowing received mixed-to-negative reviews. 33% of the critics in Rotten Tomatoes gave positive views with an average score of 4.7 out of 10; however, in the site’s community, it received a rating of 48%. At Metacritic, the film received only a score of 41 out of 100. Yet, the movie performed so well in the box office. In opened as #1 in March 20, 2009 and has then grossed tremendously.
Rating. I actually love the movie so four and half stars for it. I feel it did not fail in bringing out something new to the table, in being visually engaging, in being fresh and original, and in being provoking and entertaining. Plus, the idea of combining science and religion, though very ambitious and seems impossible, is executed very well by the movie.