Not often does a movie come out that taps into humanity’s unquenchable desire for knowing what the future will hold for mankind, while still managing to deliver nonstop action with an unconventional merge of religious and science fiction elements that are actually original. Knowing, directed by Alex Proyas, the well-known director of I, Robot and The Crow, does just this.
Nicolas Cage does an exceptional job of playing John, a devoted single dad and professor of astrophysics at a university. Ever since his wife’s death in a fire several years earlier, his ideas about religion and the order of the universe have been cynical. When his son Caleb’s school opens a time capsule from 50 years ago, all his doubts are put to the test.
The movie starts with a group of school children from 1959 that are supposed to draw a picture about what they think the future will look like. Many draw rocket ships and things such as flying cars. One girl in particular, Lucinda Embry, seems to be a bit of an outcast from the other students, and furiously starts writing numbers down instead of drawing a picture.
The teacher seems disturbed by Lucinda’s entry for the time capsule but puts it in anyway. Later, when Lucinda goes missing from the time capsule ceremony, they find her in the basement of the school doing something similar to a scene in a horror movie. The movie includes many shocking and almost horrific scenes, especially when the children start hearing faint whispers that seem to come from mysterious â€œwatchersâ€ that appear throughout the movie.
The movie then fast-forwards 50 years to the present where Caleb opens up his drawing from the time capsule, and it is the page of numbers from Lucinda. He is convinced that the numbers have some meaning, but John refuses to believe it at first.
After Caleb goes to bed, John spends all night pondering the numbers, their possible meanings and why a child would have written them. He is blown away when he discovers that the numbers are dates to every major disaster to happen in the world for the past 50 years. Horrifyingly enough, the next date on the page is tomorrow.
John’s frantic search for answers lead him to Lucinda Embry’s daughter, played by Rose Byrne, who has her own daughter named Abby. Once Caleb and Abby start hearing the whispers, Rose and John join together to solve the mystery by going to the place where Lucinda died, but the whisperers are not far behind, and their motives and origin are in no way clear.
In the final hours of life on Earth as we know it, John realizes that there is actually a pattern and a design to the universe, which renews his faith and ability to trust in a higher power. The huge climax of the movie and resolution seem somewhat rushed and a little hokey when compared to the rest of the movie.
While there are religious undertones throughout the movie, the ending seems to really throw it in the viewer’s face. The ending can be debated to contain multiple meanings, and the director surely did this on purpose. However, it is still a let-down and a little frustrating.
The movie is not for the faint-hearted because there are plenty of disturbing images such as people being burned alive while running from a plane crash. There are also extremely graphic car crashes with semi trucks and many deaths. The action and special effects of Knowing make it a sight to see, especially on the big screen.
If you’re one for an action-packed thriller that delves into some of life’s greatest mysteries and don’t mind a few unturned plot points, Knowing most definitely delivers.