Thursday, January 30, 2014

Knowing (2009) [PG-13] ***



Armageddon meets Signs in this apocalyptic sci-fi/fantasy/action thriller starring Nicolas Cage as John Koestler, an MIT astrophysicist whose son Caleb (Chandler Canterbury) brings home a strange document, after the opening of a 50-year-old time capsule at his elementary school. Originally placed in the ground in 1959 at the school's dedication ceremony, the time capsule contained pictures of the future drawn by the young students.

However, one deeply disturbed girl, Lucinda (Lara Robinson), instead filled her sheet of paper with rows of apparently random numbers. Studying the document, Koestler discovers that the numbers include the date, death toll and earth coordinates (longitude and latitude) of every major disaster since 1959. Furthermore, the document predicts three future disasters, the last of which may be a global event, putting at risk the life of every living thing on the Earth.

Koestler tries to interest Phil Beckman (Ben Mendelsohn), an MIT cosmologist, in the theoretical possibility that the prediction could be true, but Beckman derides his fascination with the non-scientific pursuit of numerology. Tracking down Diana Wayland (Rose Byrne), the daughter of the now-deceased Lucinda, Koestler appeals to her for help, and he also tries to alert the authorities. However, he can't get anyone to believe him, and he becomes increasingly desperate as the date of the third event draws closer.

Based on a story by Ryne Douglas Pearson (Mercury Rising) and directed by Alex Proyas (The Crow, Dark City, and I, Robot), the film offers fast-paced adrenalin-pumping action, impressive special effects, a plausible scientific explanation for the world-ending event, and a credible performance by Nicolas Cage. This is not a film with a happy ending, however, and while it has a PG-13 rating it may be profoundly disturbing for innocent viewers of any age. (Why is it that a film depicting two people making love earns an MPAA R Rating, while a film showing horribly maimed people screaming in pain while fleeing an airplane crash or a subway train crash earns a PG-13 rating?) Fans of Nicolas Cage thrillers like Next may be satisfied, but this film will be best appreciated by fans of the films of M. Night Shyamalan and Alex Proyas. 

Labels: action, drama, mystery, sci-fi, thriller, tragedy   
Internet Movie Database  
Metacritic 41/100  
RottenTomatoes Averages (critics=47, viewers=62)  
Blu-ray1   
Blu-ray2

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