"Knowing" DVD, Blu-ray Movie Review

10/31/2010 Posted by Admin


DVD, Blu-ray Movie Review

Directed by Alex Proyas, written by Juliet Snowden and Stiles White, 122 minutes, rated PG-13.

By Christopher Smith

Alex Proyas' horror thriller, "Knowing," stars Nicolas Cage in one of his better commercial efforts, which is good news for Cage, since he needed a movie that was an improvement over the dreck he’s been shucking to audiences lately.

For too long, the man’s career has been one long wallow in the business end of a loaded toilet, where he swam amid such firebombs as "The Wicker Man," "Ghost Rider," "Next" "National Treasure: Book of Secrets" and the especially risible "Bangkok Dangerous.”

The key to Cage's success in this movie is Proyas, the visionary director behind such cult classics as "The Crow" and "Dark City,” as well as 2004's excellent "I, Robot." What he has done with Cage is to tone him down. The man is still as gaunt as ever (would somebody please throw him a Fat Burger?), but gone are the massive fright wigs he has favored as of late, not to mention his thirst for delivering such hilarious, over-reaching performances, they tend to lend themselves to drinking games.

Working from Juliet Snowden and Stiles White's script, "Knowing" is a B-movie movie charged with science fiction undertones. It's about the end of the world and how one young girl named Lucinda (Lara Robinson) saw it coming 50 years ago.

At the start of the movie, this grim girl with the dead eyes and the blank face taps into something otherworldly when she joins the rest of her class by drawing her idea of what the future will look like within 50 years. Instead of drawing happy little space ships, Lucinda goes all crazy in the classroom, scribbling down a rush of numbers on a piece of paper that gets tucked within the time capsule.

Cut to the present and to Cage’s John Koestler, a widower doing his best to raise his son Caleb (Chandler Canterbury) while also spending quality time with a whisky bottle. It’s when the time capsule is opened and Caleb comes in contact with Lucinda’s handiwork that their lives are turned sideways, with John, an astrophysicist at M.I.T., soon realizing that the numbers Lucinda wrote correlate with the dates and locations of worldwide disasters, such as 9-11.

The list states that the next day, 81 people will die, which indeed happens when a plane crashes near John in New York City. A few days later, a subways skips the tracks and smashes through crowds of people, killing the exact number Lucinda predicted. Each of these scenes are beautifully handled, so seamless in their special effects, they add a nice rush to the movie.

Deepening the film's creepy factor are the men in black who hover around Caleb like a clutch of crows. They're known as the "Whisperers" and they appear mostly at night, standing watch over Caleb in ways that suggest a malicious intent. Draw into this story a subplot that involves Lucinda's daughter, Diana (Rose Byrne) and her daughter, Abby (Robinson), who also can hear the Whisperers, and "Knowing" becomes a satisfying thriller that doesn't cheat its audience when it comes to its harrowing ending.

While there are elements here that don’t add up, such as the mysterious rocks that appear throughout, this is a B-movie, with all that implies, and it’s better than the bad rap it received when it first hit theaters.

Grade: B

Watch the trailer for "Knowing" here:

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