Knowing (2009)

You'd be better off not knowing the ending

1958: A time capsule containing student drawings of the future is buried on the grounds and scheduled to be unearthed on the school's 50th anniversary. Instead of submitting a drawing, however, one little girl scribbles a series of seemingly random numbers on her paper before it is buried. Fifty years later, the time capsule is unearthed for a new generation of students to examine. Caleb Koestler (Chandler Canterbury) is one of those students. The mysterious sequence of numbers falling into his possession, Caleb takes the paper to his father, Professor John Koestler (Nicolas Cage), for examination. Studying the numbers, Professor Koestler soon discovers that they aren't random at all, but an encoded message containing the precise dates, death tolls, and coordinates of every major disaster since the time capsule was buried. Not only that, but the document also indicates that there will be three more such events.

The beginning of the film feels like it's in too much of a rush to set up the film's primary plot. I also found it quite contrived how they got John to find out about the code, from a stain after leaving his glass on the paper, which happened to circle 91101, which signifies September 11th 2001, of course. It also doesn't help how the dialogue is very unengaging and dull.

Once the code has been discovered by John, I then felt that the film had managed to pick up, and eventually develop into a good thriller. It did well with building up the tension and the answers, whilst managing to give us some great scenes, like when John attempts to stop the second disaster.

The highlight of the entire film has to be the plane crash. Shot documentary style, within one continuous take, it manages to give the impression that the viewer is watching something which feels more real by the absence of cutting from shot to shot, managing to make the scene more effective than the numerous plane crashes we see where all we get is shocked expressions and explosions.

Cage finds a new method to learn his lines

Nicolas Cage and Rose Byrne give great performances, and the child actors worked well with what they were given, managing not to slip into the typical annoying child character archetype. There were a number of great character moments which made us care about these characters we were following, especially between Cage and his on-screen son.

The plot lost steam after they discovered what the final code meant, dragging out the end until it managed to devolve into what I can only describe as being a half-baked sci-fi ending that feels like it was ripped from another movie entirely. While the whole "Numbers predicting future deaths" things does pretty much scream sci-fi, I still felt like the ending let the film down and Knowing would've been much better if it was a thriller as opposed to a science fiction movie.

Knowing is pretty good when it focuses on the characters and the future upcoming disasters, yet the dully rushed opening and the ludicrous ending severely let the film down.


Matt Stewart said…
1/4. The movie is pretty thrilling, but it fails to a extent most movies don't even have the ability to haha.
Aditya Gokhale said…
Well, I hate half-baked attempts that start descending the downward spiral gradually...

Knowing is something I would watch if I happen to come across it on TV or something I guess.

Great review man.
James Rodrigues said…
@Matt S it did fail at times, especially during the ending which was a real shitstorm

@Aditya Gokhale Its the kind of film i'd say to watch if there's nothing else on, nothing special really