Back on December 4th, in our hotel room in Branson, I was channel surfing and stopped when I saw Nicholas Cage and a young boy staring at several glowy aliens. I soon realized that I was seeing the end of what looked like a very good movie. Later I figured out that the name of the movie was Knowing and I knew I wanted to see it even though it had been “spoiled” and last night I got to see the whole thing. I was not disappointed. In spite of having already seen the ending, I thought it was a great movie and didn’t feel that it had been all that badly spoiled. But I don’t want to spoil it for you so if you don’t want to read a spoiler stop reading now. Watch the trailer instead.
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At the beginning of Knowing an elementary school class opens a time capsule buried fifty years earlier by another class at the same school. Inside are letters from the students in the earlier class. Each of the kids in the current class is given one of the letters. One boy, Caleb, gets a page full of apparently random numbers. The other kids think it’s “boring” but Caleb wants to know what it means.
His father, a widowed astronomy professor, played by Nicholas Cage, dismisses it at first but then starts looking at it and discovers that the numbers are the dates of disasters and the numbers of victims. And there are three that have not happened yet. Caleb starts hearing whispering voices and seeing mysterious men watching him from the shadows. Caleb and his dad meet up with the daughter of the girl who wrote the numbers – and her daughter who is, conveniently, the same age as Caleb – and together try to figure out what’s up with the numbers and the mysterious strangers.
I think this is a very good movie and I’m surprised that it’s not more popular. I’m not sure how much seeing the ending first might have changed the way I saw it. We are used to movies in which the hero saves the day in the end, no matter how impossible the situation. That didn’t happen in this movie. But were there subtle clues? Might I have realized at some point that this wasn’t going to end with everyone dancing a happy dance? I think that’s likely.
Overall, I think the movie was well done and well acted. I especially want to praise the very effective use of the second movement of Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony near the beginning and again at the end. But I can’t say it was perfect. You can probably find plenty to pick on in this movie if you’re the type who’s more inclined to nit pick than to just sit back and enjoy the ride. To start with, if the aliens had known about the coming disaster for fifty years how come they could only save two children? And why the f**k couldn’t Dad have come along too? Would that really have been so impossible for powerful, glowy aliens who can whisper to you inside your head? I don’t think so.
One more thing, about the movie itself, I think they could have done a better job on the CGI for the planet they dumped the kids on, but overall, really, really good movie.