I have a certain liking, and at the same time apprehension when it comes to disaster films. The thought, the idea that the world could end under extraordinarily violent circumstances gives me something of a chill. Nicolas Cage’s new film Knowing is very much a mixed bag in this area.
Nicolas Cage, despite being a fantastic actor, has starred in a whole lotta junk lately. National Treasure 2, Ghost Rider, Next, Bangkok Dangerous…He’s sort of carved out a little niche in Hollywood of starring in bad action movies, which is unfortunate. However, he remains a great actor, and he’s effective in his role here as an MIT professor who realizes the world may end.
In 1959, to celebrate the opening of a new elementary school, a class puts into a time capsule drawings of what they predict 2009 will be like. 50 years later, they open the capsule. One little boy gets not a drawing, but a paper with rows and rows of numbers.
His MIT professor of a father, John Koestler (Cage), sees an eerie pattern in the numbers: They document, in perfect sequence, the days, dates, and coordinates of every major disaster of the last 50 years, with only 3 left. What happens when the numbers run out?
The film has a great first hour. It maintains a tense atmosphere, and sports an incredible, 3-minute long plane crash sequence. But in the end is where it runs awry. The majority of the last hour is exposition, but there’s a GIANT science fiction twist which is completely ridiculous. It destroys all the tensity and believability the film masterfully builds itself up towards. However, the visual effects, although sparsely used, are really incredible, especially the final scene. (which, ironically, is the worst scene in the film) The dialogue is rather underwritten, as well.
Knowing is ambitious, moreso than many recent action films. But it’s incredibly uneven, at that. Although Nicolas Cage is good, the visual effects are great, and it has an excellent first hour, Knowing self-destructs towards the end. What a shame. What a disappointment. C-