Saturday, November 9, 2013

KNOWING (2009)

Directed By: Alex Proyas 
Written By: Ryne Douglas Pearson, Juliet Snowden & Stiles White 
Story By: Ryne Douglas Pearson 
Cinematography By: Simon Duggan 
Editor: Richard Learoyd 

 Cast: Nicholas Cage, Rose Byrne, Ben Mendelsohn, Liam Hremsworth

In the fall of 1959, for a time capsule, students draw pictures of life as they imagine it will be in 50 years. Lucinda, an odd child who hears voices, swiftly writes a long string of numbers. In 2009, the capsule is opened; student Caleb Koestler gets Lucinda's "drawing" and his father John, an astrophysicist and grieving widower, takes a look. He discovers dates of disasters over the past 50 years with the number who died. Three dates remain, all coming soon. He investigates, learns of Lucinda, and looks for her family. He fears for his son, who's started to hear voices and who is visited by a silent stranger who shows him a vision of fire and destruction. What's going on?

Richard Kelly was originally set to write and direct the project.

While the story and visuals work, maybe the director paid more attention to those elements and details and let the performances more veer to all over the place.

One of the distractions for me with this film was that Nicholas Cage's behavior as the lead character made sense, but the way he was performing it was so bad that soon it got to be more humorous then approaching believable. It wasn't only him it was Rose Byrne too. At this point audiences have just become accustomed to Nichols Cage's histrionics, when it comes to playing characters in blockbusters. That it's easy to focus and blame him since he Is the star and probably making the most money.

This is the second film featuring Rose Byrne to revolve around the possible end of the world as the result of a solar event after SUNSHINE.

The school in the movie is William Dawes Elementary. William Dawes was one of the riders who, like Paul Revere, warned the minutemen that British troops were coming. Just like a child at The predicament of being able to see future disaster while fearing no-one will believe you is called "The Cassandra Complex", after a Greek myth. his namesake school was trying to warn people what was coming.

The film could have ended with him just crying and had a more artful ending other ten the chaos in the streets one, but it being a blockbuster we must have a theme of forgiveness and togetherness. Plus since it's all mostly about effects we must see it put to work. The destruction Sequence i will admit included with the train crash scene had the makings to be great. There just wasn't enough detail placed on it and the death and destruction caused to really appreciate it fully and stand back in awe.

The film I can honestly say is not Nicholas Cage's fault. He has starred on so many clunkers that I think critics and audiences now go into his films with their claws sharpened as we have gotten so used to diminished returns on his product yet believe this will the comeback.

When it's not we pick or nitpick more about him then the film and make all o it's flaws which could be minor into huge problems. So already going into it. The film seems destined to fail as everyone is going over it with a fine toothed comb where as other stars' films that are deemed better but are just as bad if not worse because there is a lack of backlash or them.

I gave this film a chance only because, The late Film critic Roger Ebert put it as one of his best films of 2009, but also one of the best sci-fi films. Now over the years I had agreed with him many times and respected his opinion, but he has burned me a few times with his positive reviewed that I went to see the films because of and afterwards felt ripped off. As these the case of TOMB RAIDER.

I can see the things to like in the film but I feel the film has too much slickness, gloss and glare that you never feel anything really. It's like a commercial. It looks great, but there never seems to be an emotional connection felt in a film that has to do with parents connection to kids. It feels false on screen so the audience never gets a chance to feel anything for the characters.

The film fails in many aspects. It is interesting and not in a bad way as there are good ideas and there could have been good direction if it wasn't all about selling to the audience. It has the man of science who believe in randomness who must overcome That feeling to have faith to survive.

The last Half is more visuals and score which works as we are not told things so much and more like witnesses as the action happens.

Though I give the film credit for a big budgeted film it has a lack of a major cast. It is has more characters, but always feels like only a 4 person cast film and story. That is the limit on characters that you get to know.

The last hour of the film is more visual then dialogue based, but there is never a feeling of actual thrills, maybe it's because you never really feel the characters or consequences deeply. I have to give the movie credit there are many instances it could have gone off the tracks into bat-shit crazy. It stays on point.

The plane crash scene I surprising but also jarring as it seems to graphically show the aftermath and disorientation of survivors plus the violence that happen to them And want us in the audience to witness as Nicholas Cage's character tries to save them, but as he saves them the scene becomes ridiculous and doesn't feel plausible as he just yells at a man on fire running around.

The entire airplane crash, starting from when we see the plane till the end of the scene is one continuous shot.

In these Films I love how tragedy and action happens that would put others in therapy or base them around a characters recovery in films like this the situations multiply for a character, but they seem to function just fine I guess for survival.

The secondary characters are not introduced until almost an hour into the film feeling less like co-stars and more like guest star or cameo roles. Maybe they were just added as a last thought to further the story and keep the running time padded.

I get the fire analogy. This film is obsessed with, but after awhile it gets to be too much and though it is not film related. Nicholas cage's hairpieces though similar get bigger and more ridiculously noticeable. So that they become very distracting. In the movie they show an oil rig on fire in the Gulf of Mexico. A little more that a year later on April 20, 2010, it became a reality with the BP oil spill in the gulf.

No matter what is said, Director Alex Proyas is still a director of immense talent and great vision. He just needs the right story and more of a chance to prove it with more non-star related productions.

It took Alex Proyas three months to shoot the film, about half the time it took to shootI, ROBOT. He credits the use of digital technology for being able to shoot so quickly and efficiently.

At the end of the film, Caleb and Abby are seen running through a golden field toward a glowing tree, after being dropped off by the beings. The two kids could represent Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden with the Tree of Life. Also, the beings also resemble what angels are perceived to look like when they reveal their true form.

 Grade: D+


  1. The story line just has way to much random Biblical imagery with seemingly little thought behind it and that really bothered me. I too saw it because Ebert raved about it. It was just a bizarre movie with a few good bits. The plane crash was great (love the single shot). And I do give it credit for being a movie that says the world will end and then actually destroys the world. Funnily enough, this was the first in a now ongoing list of movies about the end of the world where the world does indeed end. Most recently, This is the End. I think I liked it best in Seeking a Friend For the End of the World. But anyway, I give the movie credit for having the balls to do that, but I have never had any desire to watch it again.

  2. True, i like it when an apocalypse film actually goes full length