Proyas' new science fiction film was undeservedly panned on its
cinematic release. Though I don't champion it like Roger Ebert (who gave
it 4/4), Knowing is an ambitious and thought-provoking thriller.
Nicholas Cage, in a predictable performance, plays John Koestler, a
Cosmologist who teaches at MIT. Grappling with the argument of free will
vs determinism, John dejectedly tells his students that he now believes
that there "is no grand meaning, no purpose" and that "shit just
happens". His son Caleb (Chandler Canterbury) then uncovers a letter
from a student "time-capsule" created fifty years earlier. Most of the
letters contain drawings of children's imaginings of the future, but his
is a seemingly random array of numbers. John discovers that the numbers
may contain within them predictions about certain catastrophic events.
Also pivotal is Diana, the daughter of woman who drew the original
artwork, played by Aussie Rose Byrne.
loathe to spoil the events and revelations of the plot, even though they
themselves provide an ideal platform for discussion and disagreement.
They work on their own terms even though the Spielbergian finale is too
left-field and didactic in comparison with the nebulous atmosphere
created up until that point.
are not enough intelligent and thoughtful science-fiction movies being
made, and Knowing deserves recognition for being as ambitious as
it is. But not all of it works, and the dreadfully serious tone comes
precariously close to parody. Visually there are some astounding
long-takes and visceral action sequences that are effective despite some
artificial computer generated effects. As always, itís the way the
effects are used rather than their quality that is most important.
disc contains a insightful commentary from Proyas, who is clearly
invested in the film but sounds bored with the whole commentary process,
and inexplicably the trailer for the Dakota Fanning starring Push
because...well just because.
also made Dark City, an underrated cult-classic which shares
similar themes. Knowing is not on its level, and suffers more
from Proyasí tendency to make the climax too rushed and simplistic.
Nonetheless itís intriguing and conversation-inducing.