Knowing – movie review
“9/11. 9/11. 9/11. . .Why is it that these numbers sound so familiar?” When Nicholas Cage finally has to Google them to find the answer, we the audience collectively slap our heads in shame – “Ah yes, it was that terrorist attack in New York, wasn’t it? Dearie me.”
For little Nicky, this is only the start of his problems – you see, Cage’s son has stolen a piece of paper from his school’s recently unearthed 50 year old time capsule, and said paper is coated in seemingly nonsensical numerical sequences. Once the 9/11 conundrum is solved, the rest of the plot clunks heavily into place as the numbers transpire to be dates, details and death tolls for every disaster (natural OR man-made) that have come to pass since the capsule was buried. But that’s not all – would you believe it, there are still some numbers on the sheet unaccounted for. . . whatever could happen next?
Given the right frame of mind, I think most people are open to a fun piece of hokum, but Knowing is such a confused mess of a film that it comes across as joyless and crass. There are countless unsubstantiated leaps in logic, pacing and continuity- it takes far too long setting up the premise and the intruige, only to faff it away with rushed scenes of chaos and carnage, not to mention Cage’s trademark overacting / shouting / crying repertoire.
Admittedly, the foretold scenes of disaster are very nicely executed – a plane crash goes all shakey-cam and “gritty”; a New York subway sequence is pleasingly brutal; and the film’s final denouement is as satisfying as one could hope. The problem is, those expensive special effects take up at most 15minutes of the film’s 120, and the rest of the time plods by with laboured drunken emoting, spooky albino strangers, Bad Science, irritating children, and a cavalcade of non-sequiturs, not to mention an insultingly preachy coda.
Audiences these days have been conditioned to not expect much from Nicholas Cage, so his performance is as laughably awkward as anything else he’s done in recent times. The real disappointment here is director Alex Proyas, who kick-started his career with The Crow and Dark City; before going to great lengths complaining about how Fox had butchered his edit of iRobot. Flinching my way through this pointless tedium, I couldn’t help but wonder if maybe the Fox executives’ judicious scissors might have been an asset here.