Knowing Review

Knowing (2009) Movie Review by Stephen McLaughlin


Director: Alex Proyas
Writers: Ryne Douglas Pearson (screenplay), Juliet Snowden (screenplay)
Stars: Nicolas Cage, Chandler Canterbury, Rose Byrne, Ben Mendelsohn 

Knowing was released in 2009 and is Directed by Alex Proyas who you may know from such films as Dark City, I, Robot and Garage Days.

Knowing is about M.I.T. professor John Koestler played by Nicolas Cage who links a mysterious list of numbers from a time capsule from the past and predicts future disasters and he sets out to prevent the ultimate catastrophe. It’s similar to the Final Destination series where the main character Alex Browning foresees disasters before they happen although in Knowing it’s The End of the World. Movies like the Number 23 and even The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy that mix Science and Numbers have always fascinated me. This movie is no different in that aspect.

I have to admit that I was concerned that the reveal of what these numbers meant and where the story was going was all explained within the first 45 minutes of the movie and I knew the running time was just over 2 hours that this movie would be running on empty after the first hour.

Thankfully the pacing of this film wasn’t rushed an although a lot happened within that first 45 minutes the story actually doesn’t feel rushed.

Koestler lives with his young son Caleb (Chandler Canterbury) in an isolated house in the woods. After his wife passing it is clear to see that John Koestler is a man struggling to get by from day to day and this is clear in his alcohol intake.

The list of numbers that were passed to Caleb at the opening of the 50 year old time capsule intrigued the youngster enough to hold on to them to show his father who after stumbling across the number of specific dates in time of disasters with the number of fatalities and the coordinates of the position of these disasters becomes an obsession with professor John Koestler .

Cage’s portrayal of the professor is one of frustration “knowing’ this information and “knowing” there is absolutely nothing  you can do about it. Worryingly though for Kestler there are still numbers within the code that have yet to happen.

I must say “knowing” is an interesting plot and if I am honest I enjoyed most of the storyline. Similar to “Signs” there must be an explanation and a conclusion but how do you conclude a plot that has already emphasised to the audience that there is nothing you can do about these disasters, forthcoming disasters and the end of the world as we know it?

It is not clear who these men who visit Caleb as it is not established if they are angels or aliens. The movie isn’t heavy handed on the religious aspects although there are hints throughout the film they aren’t overly emphasised and it left up to the audience to decide how they wish to perceive the story in that aspect.

Interestedly this is the Film debut of Liam Hemsworth who has one scene in as a student in Koestler’s class. The rest of the cast is contained and I felt Rose Byrne and Ben Mendelsohn were great additions to the cast.

The Cinematography is eery and nice to look at. Even the CGI although from 2009 still holds up and the airplane crash sequence is still pretty impressive. I was a fan of the 1990’s Nicolas Cage and although i must admit that I strayed away from his work after the turn of the century. Knowing is the one that made me come back and look at his work and I must say I’m glad I gave this movie a chance. Recommended.

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