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Australia/USA 2009
Directed by
Alex Proyas
122 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
2 stars


If your central character was an M.I.T astrophysics professor why on God’s green earth would you choose Nicolas Cage to play him? Presumably for the same reason that you’d cast Ben Mendelsohn as his colleague specializing in cosmology – because you’re making a movie for an audience with not the remotest ability to scrutinize your subject matter (Cage’s class is like something out of junior high).

Cage plays John Koestler, a traumatised M.I.T professor bringing up a young son, Caleb (Chandler Canterbury), after the death of his wife in a hotel fire. One day the school unearths a time capsule buried 50 years earlier (we’ve seen this in a prologue) and Caleb is given an envelope that contains a piece of paper covered in numbers that were written down by one of the students, Lucinda (Lara Robinson). John becomes intrigued by the numbers and discovers that that all relate to human disasters that have occurred since 1959. There three more dates left and he sets about trying to avert them with the help of Lucinda’s now adult daughter (Rose Byrne)

Proyas throws everything at this scenario, the Holy Bible, extra-terrestrials, crashing planes and trains, polished pebbles, a handgun, a heatgun and even a pair of white rabbits as the narrative progresses from the prosaic to the ludicrous, the acting progresses from serviceable to awful (Rose Byrne as the hysterical mother is particularly bad in the film’s latter stages although Cage manages to catch her up as his action hero self emerges) and the directing from prosaic to delusional (no one is going to care about this) as Marco Beltrami’s score thunders on in the best John Williams style, 

Yes, Knowing is a sub-Spielbergian grab-bag of nonsense about the end of the world and beyond (it will, of course, be re-populated by Americans). It’s not entirely terrible and technically is even quite well made – it’s just that it’s a pastiche of things taken from other movies that never manages to be dramatically or intellectually coherent.




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