Sci-fi guru Alex Proyas (Dark City, The Crow) latest is one of the darkest and depressing films I have seen in a while. “Knowing” stars Nicolas Cage as MIT astronomer John Koestler. Koestler’s son, Caleb (Chandler Canterbury), is part of a school class that opens a time capsule from fifty years earlier. Caleb opens a letter of numbers that at first seem innocuous. Koestler, during a night of drunken remorse over his wife’s death, comes across the letter and decides to decode it. He makes the alarming discovery that the letter has predicted every disaster for the last fifty years, and ends with the destruction of the planet earth, a mere days away. He embarks on an odyssey to find the daughter (Rose Byrne) of the girl who wrote the letter so many years ago. But is even more alarmed to find that Caleb is now being hunted by mysterious men in black that appear to kidnap him at every turn.
Knowing is a very dark film with scenes of mass destruction that are horrifying. In fact, there’s a plane crash that’s so realistic and disturbing, I am convinced this film will never be shown on an airplane. These scenes of megadeath are a stark contrast to the quiet ones interspersed throughout the film. Koestler and his son are getting over a family tragedy, only to step knee deep into the apocalypse. There’s also a twist to this film that caught my totally off guard. Proyas has a quasi-religious theme that is only revealed in the last ten minutes of the film. I am not a spoiler, but it caps of the film with a decidedly unusual twist.
Nicolas Cage is back to his true talents here. I am continually surprised by his choices. He makes garbage like “Con Air” and “National Treasure”, but is good enough to do “Leaving Las Vegas” and “Bringing Out the Dead”. Knowing is no indie-film, and must have an ample budget for the epic scenes of mass destruction. So Cage continues to intrigue as an actor by doing good and bad work always.
I have always been a big fan of director Alex Proyas. I believe that “Dark City” is probably the most underrated sci-fi film of all time. I’m a bit on the fence with Knowing. It is well made, and bleak as hell, but just has a little too much going on for me to recommend it. Although, the ending is pretty bizarre and I’d be shocked if anyone saw it coming.