on July 11, 2009
Why read this first? Because hopefully there are no spoilers here. In so many of the reviews for this movie, as well as others on Amazon, people seemed compelled to give a total synopsis of the movie all the way up to the end -- especially if they didn't like the movie. It's like if they didn't care for it, then nobody else needs to see it. Well, I'm glad that I didn't read any of the reviews here before watching KNOWING because I enjoyed not knowing and being able to decide for myself. And my opinion is that KNOWING is a very fine movie.
The previews tell you what you need to know: A time capsule which contains school children's drawings about what they think things will be like in 50 years is opened in the present day. An astrophysicist (Nicholas Cage)gets hold of one submission which is a lengthy series of numbers. He discovers that the numbers predict future disasters, most which have happened, but a few that are still to come. His mission becomes to avert the disasters. There-- that's all you need to know about the story, now sit back and enjoy the movie.
Here's what I am knowing:
1) If you hate Nicholas Cage you will hate the movie.
2) If you are a total science fiction geek you may not like this film as for me it was more spiritual than scifi.
3) If you don't like spiritual things, don't like God or the Bible, or don't want to be thinking about anything like this then you should stay away from the movie.
4) If major disasters are something you don't want to watch a movie about then this one is not for you.
5) If you prefer mindless comedy or romance, Knowing probably won't be at the top of your list.
6) This was my kind of movie-- I was thrilled, entertained, and uplifted in the end. I rented it, but I will probably want to add this to my collection.
on July 8, 2009
I noticed early on that "Knowing" had been receiving scathing reviews from cinephiles who called the movie "cliche," "trite," and "derivative." Most of these criticisms were impassioned and seemed to compare the movie to false estimations of what the film should have been. There is nothing wrong with wanting a movie to subvert or defy your expectations; but there is something unfair about not recognizing a film for what it is, especially when the movie succeeds so brilliantly in achieving its end result. "Knowing" starts off like a typical apocalyptic thriller rooted in numerology. But slowly the momentum of the film builds with each carefully crafted scene, so its suspense dissolves into a profound study on loss and letting go. "Knowing" is about knowing your place and role in the universe, and accepting it; and as hard as it may seem, letting go of your loved ones for their betterment -- even if its at odds with your own private longings. The ending could have played out many different ways -- with us not seeing where the children ultimately arrive so that Cage's character is left only "knowing" in his heart -- or having faith. Proyas is a benevolent director, so he allows us to see that the children indeed go on to a better place (whether this scene is the last thought in Cage's head or a scene that takes place outside of Cage's existence could be a subject of debate) because the story is trying to help us understand when it is necessary for our own peace to let go of our philosophical Materialism. I think it's unfair to label this movie as "cliche" -- Proyas and writers simply used the generic conventions of your standard "end of the world" movie to turn the genre on its head and give you something more lasting than special effects. For those of you who loved this movie -- read Arthur C. Clarke's "Childhood's End," a novel which Proyas alludes to in "The Knowing."
on March 21, 2009
"Knowing" achieves a level of greatness so few science fiction films ever achieve. It's not merely an engaging mystery--it's a deeply thought-provoking fable that's just as frightening as it is intelligent, and it ultimately makes a statement so profound that I was left completely awestruck. I don't often have an experience like that at the movies, and for that, I'm indebted to director Alex Proyas and writers Ryne Douglas Pearson, Juliet Snowden, Stiles White, and Stewart Hazeldine. They've successfully crafted one of the year's most stimulating films, taking the audience on a suspenseful, emotional, and ultimately (albeit unconventionally) redemptive journey that poses interesting questions on the nature of things. A movie like this could have easily placed technical achievement over character development, and thankfully, that didn't happen; we care just as much about the people as we do about the spectacular special effects.
The story begins in 1959, when an elementary school class is asked to draw pictures of what the world will look like fifty years later. What they draw will be put into a time capsule, which will be reopened in the year 2009. Rather than draw a picture, the quiet, disturbed Lucinda Embry (Lara Robinson) writes out a series of numbers on both the front and the back of a piece of paper.
Flash forward to the present day. We meet an MIT astrophysics professor named John Koestler (Nicholas Cage), who teaches his students that two theories on the nature of the universe have been proposed. On the one side, we have the determinist view, which states that everything happens as the result of a predetermined--and more importantly, a predictable--sequence of events. How, for example, could the Earth be located at just the correct distance from the sun to sustain life? On the other side, we have the random view, which states that absolutely nothing can be predicted, that life, the universe, and everything happened as the result of cosmic coincidences. What exactly does Koestler believe? Here are some clues: His wife died some years earlier, and he's openly stated that the existence of Heaven can't be proven.
As it so happens, John's young son, Caleb (Chandler Canterbury), goes to the same school that Lucinda Embry attended fifty years earlier. The day comes when the time capsule is unearthed and opened, and lo and behold, Caleb gets the envelope containing the numbers Lucinda wrote. He then takes it home, thinking the numbers might mean something. John initially thinks nothing of it ... until he places his wet glass of hard liquor on it and leaves a ring. Was it a predetermined act or a random act that led to a ring being formed around very specific numbers (the significance of which I won't reveal)? More important, was it a predetermined act or a random act that landed Caleb with the page of numbers in the first place? While I won't say what the numbers refer to (and this is in spite of the many ads that give plenty of hints), I will say that what John discovers changes him forever, forcing to consider ideas he never thought he would be able to consider.
To describe more of the plot would do you and the film a great disservice. Much of the story thrives on an engrossing mystery that only gets more unsettling with every passing scene. Visual motifs, such as shiny black pebbles, burning landscapes, and silhouetted figures emerging from the forest add great psychological weight. The same can be said for a house so old and ramshackle that, under different circumstances, it would be mistaken as being haunted. It ties in wonderfully with the psychological states of the characters inhabiting it. John is a solemn, broken man, estranged from his father, often detached from his son, occasionally dependent on a bottle of alcohol to drown his sorrows. Caleb is expectedly precocious but surprisingly fragile, always yearning for that which has been lost somewhere along the way. For the first time in a great while, we have a story that can actually support such characters; were it not for the awesome nature of the final fifteen minutes, John and Caleb would be nothing more than melodramatic clichés.
There are two more characters of great importance. One is Lucinda Embry's daughter, Diana Wayland (Rose Byrne), who enters John's life in a way that reaffirms the notion that nothing happens randomly. The other is Diana's daughter, Abby (also played by Lara Robinson), who, like Caleb, has been contacted by the creepy silhouetted figures, eventually called the Whispering People. Watch John and Diana as they search through Lucinda's abandoned home in the middle of the woods--the fear they express is disturbingly convincing.
Like last summer's "The X-Files: I Want to Believe," "Knowing" is one of the best cinematic surprises of recent memory, a meaningful and absorbing allegory made with intention of challenging the audience in matters of spirituality. It's difficult to say whether or not this film takes a religious stance; that would depend on your own view of the nature of the universe. There are, however, a number of religious implications, the least subtle of which is revealed in the final shot. This might account for some early reviews, where words like "overwrought" and "preposterous" came up. From my perspective, those who feel that way have failed to look any deeper than what was presented in the ads, which only scratched the surface. Contrary to what trailers and TV spots have been promising, this is not your average science fiction thriller. Serious time, effort, and thought went into "Knowing," one of the best films I've seen so far this year.
on September 6, 2010
This is an excellent movie but it will not be for everyone. The people who wrote the screenplay seem to have made the mistaken assumption that the average moviegoer is also well-read and educated. This, sadly, is not the case. The plot line of Knowing is rooted in some rather obscure and/or less-than-mainstream ideas. These include Chaos theory, the ideas of Von Daniken, ancient astronaut theory, astrophysics, and certain alternative facets of spirtuality.
If you are the type who likes a movie that makes you think and question then this will be perfect for you. And if you like it then spread the word to your more intelligent friends!
Knowing is perfect for those who appreciate some thought being put into movies. For those who prefer mindless and simple entertainment, then you have your choice of many other movies.
on July 14, 2009
[SPOILERS] By no means was this was movie as sophisticated as "2001: A Space Odyssey," and it had a lot of plot holes, but it was still a good flick. In the tradition of movies like "Stargate," this movie manages to include several mythological elements - specifically Biblical references, without being too preachy or religious: Ezekiel's Vision, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, Adam and Eve and the Tree of Life. It does make you think.
Furthermore, "Knowing" maintained a sense of urgency, and the ending was interesting because no one ends up saving the world like they do in just about every other disaster movie ever made.
To D. M. She, the the person who criticised the movie for not foreshadowing important events: There was plenty of foreshadowing, some of it subtle, some of it quite explicit. You just weren't paying attention.
1. John discusses the sun with his students (and later with his colleague) - foreshadows the solar flair.
2. The museum Diana and John visit features a variety of extinct animals, foreshadowing future extinctions.
3. The name of Caleb's school is "William Dawes," a horse rider who warned minutemen of an impending invasion.
4. Diana finds a ceramic angel that she crafted for mother - foreshadows the arrival of the angels.
5. The picture of Ezekiel's Vision hanging in Lucinda's trailer is a direct reference to the alien ship.
In any case, foreshadowing (or the lack of it) is not indicator of how good a movie is.
After reviewing what my fellow Amazon-ers have said regarding this movie, I've decided to put my two cents in.
I liked it enough to buy it.
I welcome a movie where it pushes into thinking about the 'what-ifs' that maybe out there waiting for you, for all of us.
What struck me the most is Nick's character (MIT Professor) and his father (Pastor/Preacher) and how Koestler's sensibilites are demonstrably conflicted. His religion is science and he has summarily dismissed his father's
teachings (and faith). It seems to me that even though it's not harped on (remember when his sister says to him that she'll pray for him - he just says...don't! (as in don't go there)). At the end though, he has to face it (and find a kind-of peace with his father...and maybe his heavenly father, too (that isn't made totally clear), but, in the end, he accepts his fate - he has no choice...nobody does!
That conflict is at the heart of the film - but I guess, that the religious view was minimized, folks missed it!
Regardless of anyone's view - this film is definitely something "to think about."
Even though it was a disaster, that was the "best" plane crash I've ever seen in a movie, I mean the effects in this case were outstanding...
One more thing, at the end of the movie, notice how when the "whisper people" as Nick's son into the movie "morph" into their "true" forms, those things on their back look strangely like "wings"? One could see how ancient man, upon seeing them would mistake them for..."angles".
Is it the best movie I've ever seen? No.
Is it the best sci-fi movie I've ever seen? No.
Can I recommend this movie? Yes, definitely
See it for yourself - and decide!
well, that's my "two cents"...
I give the movie Knowing...4 stars!