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
The piece of classical music we hear at the start and again at the very end of the film is Ludwig van Beethoven's "7th Symphony Major, 2nd Movement - Allegretto in A Minor". Completed in 1812 and dedicated to his friend Count Moritz von Fries, the work premiered in Vienna at a charity concert for soldiers wounded in the Battle of Hanau and was encored. See more »
A New York City subway operator is seen wearing an MTA logo on his uniform, of a kind discarded since 1994. See more »
Alex Proyas's doomsday piece boasts a chock full of interesting concepts and sleek special effects to make up its fundamentally flawed climax
This science-fiction thrill piece starring Nicolas Cage in the protagonist role is a film blooming with brainy concepts on science and religion, while hanging over apocalyptic themes that pay reminiscence of other end-of-the-world flicks like 'Left Behind'. After all, the key figure in the story is revolves around what appears be a biblical prophecy, although the spiritial theme only serves as a small undertone here rather than driving the storyline. Director Alex Proyas, the father of projects such as 'Dark City' and 'I, Robot', exhibits his grandeur of visual stimulating style that manages to triumph over its compelling, if somewhat flawed plot. Proyas is successful at making the thought-provoking ideas work, even if they are occasionally little rocky. The only major flaw is lies in the final act that borders on the line of preposterous. It is not a groundbreaking piece of work for the genre, but it is just enough to warrant for a sweet recommendation. This film opens up in 1959, at an elementary school where children are given the assignment to draw pictures of what society will like fifty years from that time. One girl, Lucinda Embrey (played by Lara Robinson), draws a long series of seemingly random numbers and places the paper in the school's time capsule. Flash forward to fifty years later, a nine-year old Caleb Koestler (played by Chandler Canterbury) and his class open up the time capsule, and Lucinda's paper is found in his hands. When he shows the paper to his widowed father John (played by Nicolas Cage), an astrophysics professor at Massachutes Institute of Technology, John believes the numbers are enigmatic codes to disasters occurring around the globe. Enlisting the help of Lucinda's daughter Diana (played by Rose Byrne) and granddaughter Abby (also played by Lara Robinson), John must encrypt the message of what seems to be a sign of a global catastrophic event.
Some may question whether Alex Proyas is trying to deliver a cautionary tale about an apocalyptic prophecy or is pinning viewers with complex ideas of science and religious theology. Both are more than likely doubtful, especially when the plot shows little respect for the laws of science to begin with. Nonetheless, it keeps things deeply eerie and grim in terms of storytelling and tone, almost bordering the line of a psychological horror thriller. Caleb and Abby are children who are haunted by mysterious entities, resembling the alien creatures from 'Dark City', who introduce them to terrifying visions of the world facing mass destruction, an eerie, yet shocking concept that is placed with sweet visual spark in one scene where the former looks out his window and sees the forest engulfed in flames. The main protagonist in the story however, is John Koestler who is infused with a performance by Nicolas Cage that can only be described as acceptable, but not bad. When Koestler learns of the terrifying secrets behind Lucinda's prophetic message, that is when the story kicks into gear, allowing Proyas to experiment with his engaging concepts. His attempts at breathing life into his ideas are mostly successful and set room for some visually electrifying sequences such as devastating plane crash that leaves several victims flailing in flames and a subway crash that racks up an enormous death toll. However, the third act, which is predictable and sets up with heavy emotional sigma, is a little absurd; especially if how unrealistic the characters behave to such an unnerving situation that is on the horizon. Shouldn't they be more terrified? On the bright side, the audience is blessed with a riveting score by Marco Beltrami to settle the tone.
Knowing is a compelling doomsday-themed piece with a chock of interesting ideas of science and religion put into play, and a surprisingly enthralling execution by Alex Proyas who brings his powerful visual grandeur to the game. It is a flawed picture with an execution may have a few scars, but not enough to make it a sore to sit through. Don't expect it to be anything revolutionary.
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