In the fall of 1959, for a time capsule, students draw pictures of life as they imagine it will be in 50 years. Lucinda, an odd child who hears voices, swiftly writes a long string of numbers. In 2009, the capsule is opened; student Caleb Koestler gets Lucinda's "drawing" and his father John, an astrophysicist and grieving widower, takes a look. He discovers dates of disasters over the past 50 years with the number who died. Three dates remain, all coming soon. He investigates, learns of Lucinda, and looks for her family. He fears for his son, who's started to hear voices and who is visited by a silent stranger who shows him a vision of fire and destruction. What's going on? Written by
From the trailers of Knowing you'd be convinced that you're going to watch a cheesy, try to save the world picture with a wound tight Nicolas Cage at the center gritting his teeth and ducking his way to the perfect ending. Well, you'd be partially correct. Cage is definitely giving his wound tight hero routine that he's worked so hard to develop over the last half dozen films. As for the cheese factor, that's where you'll be surprised. Director Alex Proyas manages to deliver a rather decent sci-fi flick that has plenty of suspense and intelligence.
The plot turns around John Koestler (Nicolas Cage), an MIT astrophysics nerd turned Indiana Jones when a time capsule is discovered at his young son Caleb's (Chandler Canterbury) school. Inside are drawings from students in 1959 predicting what things would be like in 2009 some 50 years later. The drawing that Caleb comes home with isn't a drawing at all but a series of seemingly random numbers. Koestler becomes obsessed with the numbers and their meaning or what they seem to mean. The whole thing shakes him to his scientific core and a quest has begun.
The film is very lucky to have director Alex Proyas from films such as Dark City which is his true geek film and critical acclaim as well as I, Robot and Garage Days. The visual and special effects are outstanding. It was surprising how much suspense was in the script (Ryan Douglas Pearson and Juliet Snowden) which gave the film a real thriller atmosphere which continues to build in tone as the mystery is unraveled.
I admit I went into this film expecting a rehash of National Treasure on a more global scale. The sci-fi aspect of the premise is very well thought out and told. The acting by co-stars (Chandler Canterbury, Rose Byrne and Lara Robinson) are solid performances and stand in complementary contrast to that of the tightly wound Nicolas Cage. The geek factor of Knowing is rather high with lots of number configurations and what-if scenarios which is great for the sci-fi fans. At times your brain may have to turn on in order to follow the film, but that is what made Knowing such a pleasant surprise to me.*
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