Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Review: Knowing staring Nicolas Cage

running time 116 minutes

directed by Alex Proyas
staring Nicolas Cage Rose Byrne Chandler Canterbury Lara Robinson

Knowing is on the surface a fairly simplistic end-time movie. However some of the issues dealt with in the movie itself are fairly complex and sophisticated.

Nick Cage's character John comes into possession of a strange piece of paper covered by what at first seems nonsense numbers. This paper was created 50 years ago by a little girl and place into a time capsule. At first the numbers seem to have no meaning until, by chance John notices a string that dated 9/11.

After that John is able to tie many of the numbers to past events, its at this point he notices that several of the number sequences are in the future. John witnesses a few of these events but is not able to prevent any. John is then motivated to search out the little girl's daughter to help him understand what is going on.

In a sub plot we learn that John's son Caleb has been hearing what he calls whisperers as is the daughter of Diana, the adult daughter of the girl who created the number paper. The Whisperers become much more evident to John and Caleb as they near the last date on the paper.

The ending is full throttle and at times quiet and mysterious and turns out as you suspect and not quite as you suspect at the same time. Its a movie that doesn't lean heavily on cgi and special effects - even though many of the integral moments are just that...cgi - and at the same time treats the viewer with a modicum of intelligence, letting you work out the little details for yourself. That in and of itself is a rare commodity these days.

And the DVD? One with extras is getting hard to find as well! Not the case here! Very impressive. We have the basic director narrative, though it's more of the thought behind the movie, a real good "making of" featurette and surprisingly, a piece of apocalyptic philosophy in historical reference. Quite interesting.

So overall? With a theme that could easily beat you over the head with special effects, cgi pyrotechnics and thoughtless violence where in the end the Earth is saved by a gigantic paper plate (I swear I had that mentioned to me by someone who just saw a version of the movie I was glad this one wasn't having the planet compared to a plastic plate and saved by a big paper plate in space...I swear I am telling the truth!) we are allowed to think and make up our own minds, this movie scores big for me. Plus add in an excellent special features selection and I can 9.5 or a 10. What am I waffling on? Well some of the cgi was clearly cgi if you catch my drift and the sparklie creatures at the end....that was old when Ron Howard did it what 20 some odd years ago? It kinda bothered me that there were effects being used that might be older than the audience watching....but it wasn't enough for me to even come close to panning the movie. Good addition to the dvd library.


Anonymous said...

I enjoyed the movie up to its end when the Judeo-Christian angels carried the Saved to their new Eden.

I am sick of Christian propaganda movies masquerading as sci-fi.

Beam Me Up said...

Yeah, when the "wings" and the crucifixion pose appeared, I really felt disenfranchised. I consider myself Christian, but don't care to be beat about the head and shoulders. Yeah, I could buy his Father's vocation and his railing against it. Fine...that has been the root of many a moral play since time infinitum - but even I was cringing as the "child was taken up into heaven" yeah, a bit blatant. It is going to be a hard rock to crack though. The movies are funded and produced and then marketed and purchased by Judaeo–Christian market with the majority saying "the ending was just fuckin beutiful man fuckin beutiful!" I can almost assure you that our contemporaries in say India viewing the latest Bollywood extravaganza having just such a conversation.

thanks for the input Anon, we all have to be aware of what we are being force fed, or else all we will ever get is senseless pablum.


Zampano said...

I liked this film a bit more than I expected to. Proyas' work as a director has been very uneven to me, and this didn't exactly light up the critical and commercial charts in its theatrical run, but I ended up liking the movie quite a bit when I finally caught the Blu-Ray. I am interested in the comments before mine, as my take on the ending was not the same as yours. It probably has something to do with the fact that I am an atheist, but I didn't see the ending as particularly Christian. The symbolism was definitely there, but my interpretation was more that the celestial beings at the end were not angels, but extraterrestrials, and that this was not their first time interfering with earthly matters. They resembled angelic beings because the people who had seen them before misinterpreted them as such, and therefore that imagery joined the cultural visual language as a 'heavenly' creature. It makes me curious what the intent of the filmmakers actually was.