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Not as bad as the reviews say
davispittman30 July 2017
Knowing is one of Nicholas Cage's lesser films, that's true, but it's nearly as bad as the majority of the critics reviews. Knowing is a science fiction film starring Nicolas Cage and Rose Byrne. The plot surrounds children who are able to tell when the worlds most horrific disasters and atrocities happened. Figuring out how these kids know these things and what the numbers mean is really what the entire movie is about. The performances are pretty good from the two leads. Byrne and Cage both turn in believable performances. I think that the script was average, the writers did their job, it's nothing spectacular but it suffices. The idea of the movie was very interesting and it's executed well for the most part. There are some parts of the movie that do feel kind of lackluster but they pale in comparison to the ending and how interesting it turns out to be. Some people said they thought the ending was too weird and random but I think it was unexpected and cool. And I think the way in which it ended gave the film a meaning. Overall yes I would recommend Knowing, it's not one I'd go to automatically when recommending films to people but I would say it's a fairly interesting watch. 7/10.
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Ok, so Nic Cage may not be the actor of the century but he does do poe faced well, lol. However this movie is highly under-rated. Chandler Canterbury is fantastic and the special Fx are some of the best ive ever seen. The storyline is also thought provoking and new. My only gripe is the ending, which wouldnt have been my choice.
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Alex Proyas's doomsday piece boasts a chock full of interesting concepts and sleek special effects to make up its fundamentally flawed climax
Screen_Blitz27 July 2017
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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Am I bonkers? I thought it was kind of stupid
Smells_Like_Cheese22 March 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Nicolas Cage, I feel like an addictive gambler when it comes to this man, because there are times where he has some really great movies(i.e. Face/Off) then he has moments where I wonder if he was drinking when he accepted other movies(i.e. Wicker Man). He has some really great acting moments, but it seems like his movies lately, he just looks tired and like he stayed up the whole night memorizing his lines not realizing he hasn't had any sleep for 6 weeks. I don't know, I'm not quite sure why this has a high rating right now, but we'll see in the next few weeks, because honestly I wasn't all that thrilled with Knowing. From the trailer this looked really exciting, but instead we got a movie that just took itself too seriously. I thought it was mainly just poor writing for the story and the characters.

In 1959, a competition is held amongst the students of a new elementary school to celebrate its opening. The winning plan, from student Lucinda Embry, is to bury a time capsule containing the students' drawings of the future to be opened 50 years later in 2009. She is prevented from finishing her image, which is actually a series of seemingly random numbers, and goes missing during the ceremony. Her teacher later finds her in a gym closet frantically scratching the remaining numbers on the door. Fifty years later, the time capsule is opened and the pictures are handed down to the new generation of students. Caleb, the son of MIT professor and astrophysicist John Koestler, receives Lucinda's envelope. While initially dismissing them as random numbers, John accidentally discovers that the numbers have accurately predicted the dates, death tolls, and locations of every major disaster in the last 50 years; three of the events have not yet occurred. Decoding and discovering that one of the three may lead to the end of the world.

Is this a movie that you have to see in the theater? There is one scene that only the big screen can do justice and that was the airplane crash scene, even though it was unrealistic it was great to watch. I just love how Nicolas Cage reacts to it, he goes to "save" the people who are burning and one person passes him screaming in flames and Nic just says "hey!", what exactly was he planning on saying to him? Like "HEY! Just to let you know, you're on fire". I thought the ending was weak and there wasn't enough character development. The story was too serious, while intense, the characters were not real and I felt like the effects got too cheesy at the end. I would say if you're going to see this in the theater, see the matinée, otherwise, just stick with the rental.

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Why all the hate?
vserrol29 November 2018
I know it's a bit late for a review but I feel compelled to reply to some of the criticism leveled at this movie. The reviews tend to be based on a few mistaken assumptions.

1) The movie is pro scientology propaganda

If there is any truth to this then the propaganda is very obscure, as a quick reference to scientology symbols does not include the 7 pointed star as per one detractor. To state that the movie uses a numerical based prophesy and that this is indicative of scientology is conspiratorial and nonsensical. Both the bible and koran are full of them. Maybe I am too ingenuous but at no time did I feel I was being led along a path of conscription to scientology.

2) plot holes due to slim chances of a text fortuitously falling into the hands of a person intelligent enough to decipher the meaning and be the father of one of the chosen survivors and have the descendants of the original prophecy play a part in the fruition of the plan.

fair enough, but nobody seems to question as to why the prophesy itself is possible. Surely if the universe was deterministic, as suggested by the very presence of a prophecy, then a sufficiently advanced civilization able to foresee the prophecy would also be able to foresee the path they have subscribed to the resolution they have decided on.

3) The movie doesn't make sense or jumps around too much.

Fortunately there are many straight forward shows and cartoons to watch instead .
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Anti-Armageddon, as far as Michael Bay goes
revival0516 October 2009
I feel a strange shift of priorities within moviegoers today, when a movie like District 9 can use very familiar content and simply shake it around a little, and then be hailed as a masterwork of originality and become immensely popular - while a movie like Knowing will be heavily questioned and criticized beyond it's proportions despite, or perhaps due to, the fact that it actually takes an actual leap of originality. I wonder when the latest time it was I saw a Hollywood-movie end up where this one ends up. While not being perfect, Knowing still is a proper science-fiction film in the vein of 2001 - A Space Odyssey and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Certainly not as good, for various reasons, but at least clearly part of the genre.

The storyline of Knowing is kind of a reversed bottle neck, by the end the multitude of the story is as big as it gets but to begin with, we are in a kind of X Files territory where we get a spooky prologue with a mystery note being dug under the ground (I won't go into the details, because it's really not important for me to go over them) and post credits we pick it up 50 years later when the note ends up in the hands of MIT professor John Koestler (Nicholas Cage) who is one of those I-lost-my-wife-so-I-lost-my-faith kind of guys, believing that the universe as we know it is all random and coincidental. Easily cracked, the numbers on the note, written by a little girl and buried for five decades, declare the dates and places of all future disasters to come, including death tolls. Cage sees 9/11 predicted from this little girls hands in 1959, as well as the Katrina and several disasters that haven't taken place yet. Without saying too much, he doesn't like what he sees at the end of the list of numbers.

I have heard the movie be called predictable. Looking back, I must admit there's a lot of places where I could have seen a lot of things coming. Many quite blatant clues are placed right in the very first couple of scenes and if you know your plot and character mechanics, you would spot some obligatory scenes to come. However, I didn't. It seems I was in on the ride. The plot of the movie, I think, expands in such a methodical way that as long as you get sucked in to begin with, you don't ask any more questions. The mystery is intriguing enough to have you focus on the next shot, not the overall story. I was fairly annoyed by the story device that was seemingly on the side of the plot, dealing with Cage's kid being stalked by a couple of evil, albino trench-coat-guys looking like a bunch German electro-goths. I found that they distracted the viewer from the more interesting, down-to-earth kind of story going on with Cage. But come the ending of the movie, nothing is really earthbound and they seem kind of forgivable in retrospect. Just like in Close Encounters, Knowing is a movie that starts out cryptic but ends out in big scale cathartic satisfaction and harmony, as if it all (*all*) makes sense in the end.

As for the flaws, I didn't mind the story or any of the plot holes (which mostly are arguable anyway). What did bother me probably more than anything else about the movie, though, was it's unfortunate big-time flirt with the melodrama. Take the score for instance, by Marco Beltrami, not really king of the subtle, and it's unfortunate for a movie which deals with this unusual hypothesis to have such operatic and stereotypical acting. And why, WHY, do Hollywood-movies nowadays feel the need to use those HORRIBLE matte paintings? They look like a 50's parody! As for plot, Knowing certainly bites off a lot more than it can chew. I quickly noted in the credits, with fear, that while the story credit went to one person there were like three or four guys behind the actual script. That usually means what we also get in Knowing. Messy conflicts within the narrative and sudden "moronic behavior as plot device" from characters. Also, not every mystery thread thrown up on the floor ends up with a sensible conclusion. But despite a lot ends up as fairly arbitrary anyway, I think a lot of the questions are meant to be left unanswered. Knowing picks up a lot of ancient SF-ideas, that probably would seem tired if this genre had been over-represented in any way, and at the end of the day, you didn't ask the monkey in 2001 how he figured out how to use that piece of bone, right? In all fairness, the movie is partly a thriller so it needs certain plot devices in order for the it to have a good spook value which, I might add, it surely delivers. This is the kind of movie that creeps you out just by having a character flip a bed on to it's side. I'm not sure if these abandoned mysteries is a giant flaw or just one of those things you can roll with, but I know that it makes sure it doesn't reach the top. Knowing is a movie made I'd say for 80% entertainment, and I could say I was 80% entertained. The remaining 20% is sci-fi fodder and that made me happy too. No masterpiece then, but a good ride that I certainly will recommend.

Also. I get the feeling that a lot of people who dismissed Knowing this summer were the same guys who were angry at the Bay bashers of Transformers 2. I wonder, why on Earth are the flaws of Transformers 2 forgivable, whereas the strengths of Knowing dismissible?
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The Cleansing
tedg15 April 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Timing is everything.

I saw this in a stressed state, looking for escape. I saw it in a grand old theater with large, excellently tuned equipment. I saw it not knowing anything at all about it.

And I loved it.

Yes, I know people do not like Nic Cage. And I know many were put off by the genre- synthesizing approach. But I found it engaging, narratively and visually. Spooky as getout in places. When punctuation was least expected (in three places) and from three unexpected sources, the crashes were extraordinary.

The first one -- a plane crash -- was more terrifying to me than the recurring nightmare from "Fearless." It isn't as cinematically impressive as the best complex long shots, but it was as amazing as it gets in a big budget production. The fact that there are no cuts makes the thing absolutely real.

There is a spaceship. Yes, it is an ET/Third Kind Encounter sort of ending, framed enough differently to matter and goof on Spielberg. But the stunning thing was the design of the thing. Its marvelous, absolutely new and deserving of wonder.

The end is a combination of "The Fountain," "The Fall," "The Holy Mountain" and a Chinese film about a princess whose name I forget. I am sure a reader will supply it. I thought it risky in the context but successful. The game here is one of moving not from one plot point to another, but one established location in genres to another. It takes us out of the movie world to skip among such well rooted movie types so seamlessly. They have to be familiar to work.

Its not hackneyed at all, using and escaping the ordinary.

I recommend this, but only if you can see it loud and big, and only if you have a couple decades of being profoundly influenced by the films this references.

The title is apt.

Ted's Evaluation -- 3 of 3: Worth watching.
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The Arbitrary Whim Of Nature Itself
bkoganbing31 March 2009
A very strange and disturbed girl has the idea for a time capsule to be placed on school grounds to be opened by the children of 2009 to see what the kids of the Eisenhower era in 1959 thought their future would be. When it comes time to put her contribution in however, young Lara Robinson just comes up with a page and a series of meaningless numbers.

Meaningless to everyone except physicist Nicholas Cage who is one of the parents present in 2009 when the time capsule is opened. They prophesy a series of disasters including what Cage horrifyingly realizes could be the end of the world itself.

At the same time some mysterious strangers seem very interested in both Cage's son, Chandler Cantlebury and Lara Robinson playing her own granddaughter. What their interest is not even a renowned scientist like Cage can figure out.

The ironic thing is that what would bring about the end of the world has nothing whatsoever to do with our behavior environmentally or with any mad terrorist act. It's the arbitrary whim of nature itself and the frightening thing is that also Knowing isn't going to help mankind one single bit.

Nicholas Cage does a fine job covering the ground between concerned scientist and concerned single parent. There's also a bit of spiritual journey for him when he reconciles at the very end with his minister father.

As for the mysterious strangers, they've got quite an answer to things which there's no way I'm going to reveal.

Knowing has a mixed message between rational thought and spiritual searching that can be interpreted in a lot of different ways. It's a film people will be debating for years about.
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Proyas delivers his best yet
Cujo1088 August 2010
Warning: Spoilers
In 1959, an elementary school buries a time capsule that holds drawings of what the kids think the world will be like in 50 years. When the capsule is dug up in present day, each child is given a drawing from the capsule. The drawing that Caleb Koestler gets isn't a drawing at all. Instead, it's a page full of random numbers. When Caleb takes the paper home, his astrophysicist father stumbles upon the discovery that the numbers seem to have predicted the dates of major disasters which occurred in the 50 years since. Not only the dates, but the number of victims from each incident as well. A fascinating discovery, but more important matters lie hidden in the numbers, as there are three dates and three major disasters to come... and they're coming soon.

"Knowing" is more ambitious than a typical disaster movie. Not really a surprise coming from director Alex Proyas. The closest he's come to generic is "I, Robot", by far his weakest work. While certain plot points may be hard to swallow for some, I had no qualms with any of it. Of course, I fully expected the film to be bashed unmercifully by many just because Nicolas Cage is in it. I know people like to criticize Cage every chance they get, but his acting is just fine here. Some of the tender moments between he and his son were actually quite effective from an emotional standpoint. Reading through several of the reviews I've seen, it's clear that some people just have a hate-on for the guy. My girl Rose Byrne shows up halfway through the picture, and while her character is that of a tortured woman relegated to looking distraught and flipping out, she does both well. Her panic at the gas station brought a smile to my face, as I just love watching her work.

Proyas handles the suspense exceptionally, particularly the buildup to the various disasters. The screws turn slowly, but ever so tightly. As for the disasters themselves, the scene with the crashing airliner is wicked in it's execution. Shot in the pouring down rain and all in one take, we witness the crash followed by Cage sulking amidst explosions, burning rubble and burning passengers. The subway sequence isn't as effective. Not even close, really, but the build makes up for it. The final disaster, which I won't spoil here, is positively fantastic both in buildup and execution. One scene in relation to the final disaster involves a discovery on the bottom of a bed. I felt that this scene made for a very strong gut punch, just well-done all around in leading up to it, music, everything. Chaos aside, I also liked some of the human touches that Proyas threw in. Caleb watching a video of his mother singing him a lullaby is a really strong little character moment in the midst of everything else going on. I also thought Cage's reaction was well-played.

Now for some faults. The score could be overpowering at times. I also feel that the final scene was not needed. The line about starting over was enough to get the point across, I didn't need to see it. More subtlety would have been most welcome, and ending the film with the earth in cinders would make for a more potent final image. Aside from that, the worst I can say is that some of the acting from bit players was rather on the weak side.

Overall, I was very satisfied with the final product. It could have used some tweaking here and there, but most films are flawed in some way or another. The twists in the storyline won't work for everyone. It seems a lot of the time when a new film tries to shoe in aliens or any sort of spirituality aspect, it gets branded as some sort of new age crap. I don't subscribe to that thought process. I think it's a strong piece of filmmaking from a filmmaker who doesn't work as often as he should. The masses can have their popcorn films, but I like my popcorn with a few extra layers of butter on top.
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Kind of similar to 'The Box' (if that's any help)
bowmanblue26 January 2021
I know that nowadays the name 'Nicolas Cage' is met with either a smirk or a sigh, depending on how you view him. His recent movies have hardly set the Box Office on fire (most being released straight to DVD or streaming service) and it's hard to remember a time when he was A-list material and capable of selling a movie on his name alone. However, there was a brief period in between his blockbusters and his, er, 'lesser' films where he made some which were actually pretty good - and yet still seems to have been forgotten. 'Knowing' is definitely one of them.

Cage is also well known for his own brand of 'over-acting' which can be anything from comical to cringe-worthy. Here, director Alex Proyas seems to be able to reel him in enough to capitalise on his talent, while at the same time keep him grounded. Cage plays a school teacher who, along with his young son, stumbles on a code back from the fifties which accurately depicts all the major disasters of the last few decades. If this wasn't creepy enough, some are set to occur in the next few days and there are some odd-looking men lurking around his family.

I won't go into the plot too much for fear of spoilers because, I really do think that if you're into science-fiction then you'll really enjoy this one. It's got some nice ideas and isn't afraid to go in directions that you might not see coming.

Cage is still great as a leading man and I've been a fan of director Alex Proyas' work ever since he did 'The Crow.' This may not have the visual flare of some of his early work, but he deserves props for getting a really good performance out of his leading man.

If the film has a weakness I'd say its special effects are a little uneven. I was actually really impressed with some of them and they left me pretty creeped out. However, it looks like the 'effects budget' was spent on the big set pieces and when it came to some of the 'lesser' effects (mainly involving fire) they look very 'computery' - if you know what I mean.

There's another 'forgotten' sci-fi film called 'The Box,' starring Cameron Diaz and directed by 'Donnie Darko's' Richard Kelly which feels like it could be set in 'the same universe' as 'Knowing.' So, if you have seen 'The Box' (and again - don't believe the negative reviews - it's actually pretty good for some dark sci-fi drama) and you liked it, definitely give 'Knowing' a try. It may not be a 'feel-good' movie, but if you're in the mood for some dark sci-fi, or just a Cage fan, give it a go.
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This is one excellent. Imaginative movie. Which could happen
michaelthompsonmcgill27 November 2011
I have read a lot of totally negative views about this film, and so I can only say that some people simply have no imagination.

"Knowing" works at every level. It is a brilliantly executed film. And the final is breathtaking.

I watched this film with my wife and we are not easily pleased movie watchers.

I find myself being critical of the negative reviews, because I am astounded at their lack of imagination.

Without imagination, we would never have had The Time Machine thanks to Herbert George Wells. This is just one example.

Another is Steven Spielberg's "Close Encounters". Imagination is the key word here, and so many reviewers did not have any whatsoever.

Knowing kept my wife and I on the edge of our seats, it was clever, it was imaginative, it was first class.
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k_van-926227 October 2018
Warning: Spoilers
I love watching movies that leave you just thinking at the end. This movie really did that. Now I'm not really sure why it has such bad reviews but i really liked it and would definitely recommend watching it.

Its not another end of the world movie where your main characters saves their family and end up surviving at the end, which is something i liked because it shows how Nick cages's character has to cope with knowing that him and his family will die and theirs no stopping it.

I really enjoyed the ending and how everything comes together at the end to show that this is Gods doing. You would never expect that from the way its played out, other than the foreshadowing from his son talking about not believing god at the beginning
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Sc-fi Classic: A blockbuster for thinking people
roscoe66619 November 2018
Nicholas Cage's son receives a series of numbers from a 1950s time capsule that a psychic girl wrote 50 years earlier, which predict major disasters in the future.

Big budget sci-fi, which must be commended for its consistent downbeat tone and lack of histrionics. Normally, a Hollywood blockbuster would have the hero knowing all the answers and riding in to save the day. Can Nic Cage do it, and how? The lack of predictability is its major strength. His understated performances were made for this film.

If you're in the right mood, you must see this. I've seen this film 8 or 9 times, and it's only been out 9 years, so it must be doing something right. Even when I know every line of the film it still drags you in each time it pops up on tv.

Yes, there are some cheesy moments, with some obvious CGI, and the middle third loses track somewhat, but the relentlessly downbeat tone shows what can be done with the right budget. In earlier viewings I thought it was a bit of a mish mash of genres, although still great, but subsequent viewings reveal the relevance of each plot development.

Overall, highly recommended. What's not to like about a film that is a cross between Final Destination, The Medusa Touch and Arrival?
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It's Just a Story...Not a New Religion
LeonLouisRicci19 May 2013
This one definitely hit a chord. It seemed to offend a great number of People, most of them Religious. But it also was an equal opportunity offender in that it also managed to somehow offend Scientific types too. Creationist (sometimes now called Intelligent Design) and other opposite Believers were attacking this Film like it was some sort of New Religion, like Scientology.

It's only a Movie. A Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Action Story that tries to be Philosophical and entertaining in a slightly different kind of End of the World, Alien intervention scenario. This isn't really as deep as it seems. As far as the Psychic stuff goes, gifted Folks have been struggling with this kind of thing since the beginning of time. Psychic visions, premonitions, second sight, clairvoyance, etc., all have "cursed" the Human Psyche since forever.

This is an entertaining, somewhat clever unfolding of the pre-knowledge predicament that for the most part is useless. "Knowing" what is coming, what could anyone possibly do about it. For the most part, not much. The ending in this Movie is inevitable, and uplifting. Touching and poignant.
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The Good, The Bad and the Ugly
pugmahorn26 March 2009
The good: Strong start to the movie, the plot hooks you in, excellent sound, confronting disaster scenes, haunting images, Rose Byrne, at times quite freaky, The Bad: Special effects looked like they were from a video game, ripped off basically every science fiction movie ever made, poor acting from Nic Cage, very predictable.

The Ugly: Last third of movie was shamefully ridiculous.

Summary: If you are a science fiction fan, you will probably not be able to resist seeing this movie. Be warned, you will think you are seeing the sci-fi great that you have been waiting for but mid way the film gets lost. You may very well groan out loud at the ending. This had the makings of a great movie but unfortunately it couldn't come up with the goods.
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Nic Cage's best film
Leofwine_draca10 December 2011
I love KNOWING. I loved everything about it from the moment it began to the time it finished. I loved it enough to watch it again a week later, to see whether I'd been overenthusiastic in my praise, and I discovered it was just as good – if not better – a second time around. Director Alex Proyas delivers a tour-de-force disaster movie that takes Hollywood convention and tears it up until little pieces until nothing is left.

It starts out deceptively simple, slow and understated, the kind of slightly-odd mystery yarn that THE X-FILES used to do so well in its heyday. Then it hits you with a pivotal scene involving a plane which is one of the most breathtaking I've ever seen up on screen. Truly a phenomenal moment, the kind of scene that I had go to and watch on Youtube a couple of times because it was so great. The tracking shot in ATONEMENT was superb, and this equals it. From that point in, I was hooked, and the film kept me hooked until the ending.

Said ending has proved a little hard to swallow for some viewers, but I was more than happy with the outcome: it plays a difficult hand and avoids ever becoming twee, so kudos to Proyas for not inserting some sub Spielbergian nonsense. Nicolas Cage can do this kind of haunted, jittery character in his sleep by now, but even so he gives a strong performance, the kind that leads me to forgive him for some of the tosh he's appeared in during his career (not least THE WICKER MAN). The SFX work is, it has to be said, outstanding, perfectly complementing the storyline for once, leading me declare this one of the top films of 2009 and in such hallowed company as DISTRICT 9 and INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS.
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The Chosen
claudio_carvalho21 July 2009
Warning: Spoilers
In 1959, in Lexington, Massachusetts, the students of the William Dawes Elementary leaves drawing in a time capsule to be open fifty years later. However, the outcast girl Lucinda (Lara Robinson) writes a series of numbers instead. Fifty years later, the capsule is open and the boy Caleb Koestler (Chandler Canterbury) receives her letter. When his widower father and professor of MIT John Koestler (Nicolas Cage) glances to the piece of paper with numbers, he recognizes dates and coordinates of the major global disasters in the last fifty years. Further he identifies that the numbers are the key to everything and together with the last date, it is written "EE" – meaning Everyone Else.

The refreshing "Knowing" is one of the best (if not the best) movie about apocalypse that I have seen. I am a fan of Nicolas Cage, and the intriguing and human story is very well constructed and disclosed in an adequate pace and supported by good performances. The unexpected conclusion is both pessimist and optimistic, depending on the point of view of the viewer. In the end, we all will die, won't we? My vote is eight.

Title (Brazil): "Presságio" ("Omen")
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And in the end...
MaxBorg8911 July 2009
What has happened to Alex Proyas? Back in the '90s, he directed dark, edgy pieces of sci-fi/horror, like The Crow and Dark City, that didn't necessarily pander to studio or audience expectations. Nowadays, he's gone in exactly the opposite direction, first with the fun but uneven Will Smith vehicle I, Robot (which doesn't have much in common with Asimov, despite the title) and now with the Nicolas Cage-starring Knowing. Entirely bad it ain't, but boy, does it struggle from time to time.

Cage plays a physics professor at MIT, named John Koestler, who teaches students about the notion of determinism, i.e. the theory that everything is part of a precise, already established plan. The irony is that he doesn't believe any of that stuff since his wife died in a tragic accident, leaving him alone with his young son Caleb (Chandler Canterbury). One day, something special occurs at Caleb's school: a time capsule, which was buried fifty years earlier, is unearthed so that the new generation can see what kids thought the future would look like back then. Instead of a drawing, Caleb ends up with a page containing a bizarre sequence of numbers. John takes a look at the sequence, and quickly (?) realizes that the numbers represent the dates and body count of every major disaster of the last five decades, including 9/11, Katrina and - big surprise - the death of the missus. Three of the predictions, however, have yet to come true, so John must find a way to prevent them from happening. Additionally, he has to deal with a group of weird-looking people who are interested in Caleb.

If it all sounds a bit familiar, that's because it is: while the story develops on its own terms, the premise alone, coupled with the creepy atmosphere, could come from an episode of The X-Files. In case the similarities weren't clear enough, the writers have even replicated the Mulder-Scully dynamic in the shape of John and his reluctant partner Diana (Rose Byrne) and added the inevitable religious subtext, which is hinted at from the very beginning (John's dad is a preacher). Also, the Strangers look kind of... In short, it's the sense of déjà vu that brings down most of Knowing: the third act is very easy to guess, the father/son relationship is sketchy, yada yada yada.

And yet Proyas manages to get some things admirably right: the tension is actually pretty consistent, with a few professionally delivered jump-scares along the way, and the visual effects are state-of-the-art, most notably in the impressive central set-piece which - a true stroke of genius, this one - is depicted in a single, continuous shot. Additionally, Cage's performance is one of his most convincing in quite some time. Okay, so it's not that difficult given his recent body of work includes the likes of The Wicker Man, Ghost Rider and Next, but his portrayal of a man who questions his beliefs (there we go again) adds some emotional weight to the picture. And that's without mentioning the refreshingly merciless conclusion...

Knowing is nothing new, meaning that the few unexpected elements it contains are rapidly sidelined by textbook scripting. Still, even on an off-day Proyas manages to pull off a collection of oddly compelling images (Cage's hair not included). Not quite enough, but we already sort of knew that, right?
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Worth Seeing – Before the End!
treadwaywrites19 March 2009
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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I don't understand the negativity behind this movie
AngieeeBabayy11 February 2010
I thought this was arguably one of the best movies of our time. With that said, I've gotta admit I'm a scifi movie lover and these movies are my kinda thing.

This movie literally had everything I typically LOVE in a movie, a great beginning, a thriller climax, and a killer ending. There were no plot holes to this film, which initially made me love this movie in the first place. One thing I love about this movie has to be after I watch it a couple of times- I actually notice little hidden things in the climax that ultimately lead up to the ending, things you don't typically notice when you first watch this movie.

Those who love the indie film-type endings, or those who love horror or slasher films, or actually anyone who likes cliff-hanger endings- this might not be for you. But if you love apocalypse type movies, or are a thriller fanatic then you'll hopefully like this movie. This movie also supports the Christian/Catholic faith- so if you are against it in any way- this movie may not suit you. With that said, it's NOT a Jesus loving movie. The ending has a lot to do with the Christian faith and if that's not for you- don't watch it.

All in all, this is a pretty spectacular movie. The music was on cue with everything in the movie and the scenes were incredible. Each scene had you gripping onto your seat in anticipation. Although this is very under-appreciated, I hope you will give this movie a try.
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Real good entertainment
Superunknovvn13 April 2009
Warning: Spoilers
"Knowing" is what you wouldn't expect from a Nicolas Cage-flick anymore: real good entertainment. Maybe it has to do with the fact that this movie was made by Alex Proyas, the man responsible for such dark and intriguing stories as "The Crow" and "Dark City". "Knowing" also has this certain darkness that elevates it from similarly themed apocalyptic movies.

The story plays more like a mystery thriller than your typical end-of-the-world-blockbuster... until the last moments, that is. Then the movie starts to fall apart a bit. The final solution reveals that the whole mystery about the prophetic list was more or less superfluous, which is a bit frustrating, but, hey, up until then it's a fun ride. Even the special effects don't ruin the movie. There is a really awkward moment where burning CGI-deer leave the woods. What could have been distracting and annoying doesn't really matter, because at that point the movie's got you hooked so much, the CGI won't bother you. And, of course, there are other moments where the special effects are eerily effective (the plane crash is one of the most terrifying things I have seen at the movies this year).

"Knowing" is definitely not without its flaws: the not too logical story, some unintentionally funny moments of typical Cage-ness and the over-the-top-ending all prevent it from being anything else than popcorn-fodder for the masses. However, there is such a thing as a good blockbuster and "Knowing" is just that. In short: I really enjoyed watching this movie.
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Knowing is Everything...
moviewizguy20 March 2009
Warning: Spoilers
It's hard to give a synopsis without giving too much way, so I'll try my best: John Koestler's son has just gotten the most chilling drawing from a time capsule. It contains numbers that predict deadly events that have occurred and that will occur.

Brief, yes, but the less you know, the better. This is probably why the marketing of the film consists of short, mysterious scenes filled with jaw-dropping special effects yet very little on the actual plot. However, the critical reaction may make one think the mystery shrouding this film may not be good. I'll tell you now: Go watch the film if you're interested/intrigued.

I'm afraid the critics are wrong on this one, and painfully so. The plot is far-fetched and probably (or hopefully) not realistic but this is why movies are made, isn't it? Escapism, one says. You sit down for two hours to escape from the real world to watch something fascinating, suspenseful, and, sometimes, disturbing, yet you know it can't be true but you go along with it anyway. This is "Knowing," a film that holds one's attention until the very end, bringing him or her into a world filled with some jaw dropping action scenes, with some very disturbing scenes with it.

"Knowing" is different from your mindless popcorn thrillers because it isn't mindless. It's sometimes thought provoking and triggers a variety of emotions from the viewer. The film is funny when it needs to be, after having watch a very disturbing scene. The action scenes are amazing, some cringe-worthy, in a good way, actually, because it's not just "Wow. Cool special effects," although there really are some top notch effects, but because they are very hard to watch. The film really pushes the PG-13 rating and sometimes pushes it so far and shot so well that I was left speechless.

The film also has a lot of fantastic performances, one from Nicolas Cage, an iffy actor, if you ask me but he manages to pull it off here. Chandler Canterbury, the kid actor one hopes to act well alongside Cage, also does a decent job. Rose Byrne finishes off the main cast with an equally well played role. And the movie isn't just about the action either. In some very human scenes, it may strike an emotional cord from some viewers.

This is not your usual apocalyptic flick. No it isn't. It has something more, something I cannot reveal without spoiling the movie, including an out-of-the-world ending that will leave some viewers talking. Alex Proyas, again, does not disappoint. There are some fantastic performances and some ingenious action scenes, especially in the way they are shot, along with a very intriguing plot. This, I'm proud to say, is the best film this year, so far, and one of the most surprising films I've ever seen. If you're very interested in the film, give it a watch or you'll regret "knowing" nothing about it.
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What if everything's not just meaningless chance?
Wuchakk26 April 2019
A disillusioned professor in the Boston area (Nicolas Cage) acquires a document that has successfully predicted tragedies for the last fifty years, but new ones as well (!). Rose Byrne plays the daughter of the seer.

"Knowing" (2009) is a quality drama/mystery with elements of disaster/sci-fi and even a little horror. It's along the lines of wonder-inducing flicks like "The Mothman Prophecies" (2002), "Contact" (1997), "The Forgotten" (2004), "The X-Files: Fight the Future" (1998), "Signs" (2002), "The Day the Earth Stood Still" (2008) and "War of the Worlds" (2005). If you favor the style and themes of those movies you'll probably like this one.

The film runs 2 hours, 1 minute and was shot in Victoria, Australia, with establishing shots of the Boston/Cambridge area.

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Clever and well done.
dskauai_bunch3 January 2012
This movie was a nice surprise. I usually don't like Nicholas Cage movies. Any of them. But he was perfectly cast for this science fiction piece and delivered a solid, believable performance.

The story itself was brand new, not a rehash of any tale that I can recall.

The directing allowed you to see the film without knowing until the very end what was happening - which was great. I usually enjoy figuring out the end before it gets there, because it usually seems that if I CAN'T figure it out... the movie is poor. That has been my experience. But Knowing delivered a solid mystery up to the end, with the type of finale where one thinks, "Oh, I should have seen it coming, those 100 things that happened all make sense!" Really, all the little details came together in a flash of a solid closing.

I also appreciated that there were no loose ends. Everything was tied together in a neat bow with nothing hanging out.

The only negative that I have will sound humorous to you if you don't see the movie, but I won't spoil it for you except to say that the metaphor of a pair of bunnies wasn't necessary.

Catch this movie when you can, it's definitely worth it.
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Better, and different than expected
Zulu4225 April 2009
First off, Nicolas Cage was pretty good as a science teacher who's initial skepticism over a batch of numbers (scribbled on a piece of paper found in a school's time capsule from the 1950s) is tested and eventually worn away by a quest to find out what they mean. Cage runs hot and cold when it comes to the characters he plays; he's awesome in films like "Raising Arizona", "Con Air", or "National Treasure", while not so believable in stuff like "The Family Man". He's maturing as an actor and getting better, it seems, with every role. Another standout is Rose Byrne, as the daughter of the odd little girl who wrote out the bizarre number sequences that Cage's character is analyzing. Byrne's always good at playing pensive women with something mysterious in their back stories. Yet as good as the actors were, the special effects and the twists in the storyline are what make this movie really entertaining. The writers didn't take the easy, obvious route with the story which was refreshing. The plot continues to surprise throughout taking some very different turns with the outcome of the story which made it even more unpredictable and better for it. I like movies that keep me guessing and this is one of those. See it if you like the unexpected.
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