For all intensive purposes, Knowing should have been an awful movie. And to be honest, for many of you, it probably is. The awful acting career of Nicholas Cage, a storyline about predicting the Apocalypse, a basically unknown director in Alex Proyas and a pitiful tag-line of “what happens when the numbers run out?” definitely is a recipe for disaster.
But, after having it on my Netflix queue for months, actually having the disc at home for weeks, and attempting to find the time to watch it for countless days … I was finally able to watch this movie and see what it is all about. To be honest, I thought it was pretty bad until the last 20 minutes. The basic storyline is that an elementary student writes down the dates and death toll of every major disaster on earth for the next 50 years on a piece of paper, then locks it in a time capsule set to be open a few days before her predicted apocalypse. The rest of the movie is Cage trying to understand how it could be true and how to stop it. His kid is awkward, there are tons of unanswered themes and sub-plots, and everything seems to happen too easily to be a believable story.
But an hour into the movie, something happens. The purpose of the story changes direction. Instead of trying to stop a prediction from happening, the characters try to uncover the purpose of the predictions. The characters visist the home of the woman who wrote the numbers and uncover what the final numbers point to – the apocolypse of the world. From here we have an ongoing struggle, toying with scientific vs religious reasons for the end of the world. Are the “whisperers” aliens with a 6th sense? Or are they angels carrying out the will or g-d? When you as the viewer stop carrying about how they know, but rather why they know … it really makes the movie incredible.
The ending to this movie may actually be one of the best done conclusions to a film of this scientific/religious nature. Without giving it away, let me explain what the last 15 minutes is like. First of all, the musical score is incredible here. Intensity at just the right moments, the score brings out an intense emotional attachment to the characters you didn’t really care about previously. Combine that with incredible visual effects and artistic imagery, the climactic conclusion of the film actually tears at your emotions and gives you shivers down your spine. Its sad, its happy, its powerful, its emotional, its mysterious, and in the end it truly is … beautiful. I actually went back to listen to the director’s commentary (something I never do unless a movie has this effect on me), and it was so satisfying to hear the director explain his desire to give the exact impression to his viewers that I experienced.
Give this movie a chance. Put away your need for believabilty and embrace a desire for possibility. It may start out rough, but if you give it the chance, you’ll be glad you did.