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KNOWING (2009) ***** movie review by SEBASTIAN

Posted on April 5th, 2009
Posted on April 5th, 2009


I know I’m biased here, but I loved Alex Proyas’ heartfelt apocalyptic love-letter of a film, “Knowing”. Most filmmakers would be content to present the masses with cardboard cutout characters and action spectacles in a movie like this, but not Proyas.

The film begins with the premise that fifty years ago a time-capsule was buried with students’ drawings of what the future might be like, with the intent of being unearthed now so that modern students could see what children their age were thinking about back then. All of the children are given an envelope to open. MIT astrophysicist John (Nicolas Cage) and his son Caleb (Chandler Canterbury) are surprised to find that their envelope doesn’t contain a drawing or even a letter, but rather numbers. As the story progresses we find out that these numbers foretell certain catastrophic events. Most of them have already happened but a few of these omens still remain. Racing to decipher the numbers, Ted must solve the puzzle of how a child fifty years ago could prophesy the future and what it means to him and his son now. Is he seeing things that aren’t there? Or is something terrible about to happen?

Inventive director Proyas (“The Crow”) invests a good deal of time building up the two central characters, and I found myself hoping that this would pay off as we made our way to the last act. It’s never rewarding to see protagonists fight for something at the end of a film when you don’t ever really feel a connection with them. That’s not a problem in “Knowing”. I was with this father and son from the word go. The events that unfold during the course of the story take you head long down a plunge into mystery and darkness. This thriller really does thrill. And by the time you make to the final pay-off in this story your heart will be racing.

The production is totally 100% here I’m pleased to say. That’s not surprising in a Proyas film. The man is a visual genius. There’s a tracking shot that follows Nic Cage through exploding wreckage that is just incredible. People catching on fire, flames everywhere, the tension is palpable. A very well-filmed spectacle.

Speaking of Mr. Cage, I was so relieved to see him break his string of really bad roles that he’s had in recent years. Granted “National Treasure” wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t a juicy role. This is the role I’ve been waiting to see from him. Granted its not Oscar-quality or anything, but I found his portrayal to be very captivating. Keep it up Nic!

The real surprise for me in this film is the emotions that keep popping up in the movie. I really found myself riveted. I was on the edge of my seat several times during the film. I was even moved by the performance of relative newcomer Rose Byrne (granted she doesn’t have much screen time), whose character and her daughter become caught up in the action.

With so many mediocre choices in films these days, especially genre efforts, it’s so refreshing to see an artist really deliver a quality experience at the cinema.

5 of 5 stars

Trailer below…

-Sebastian

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