Monday, March 30, 2009

Knowing (**1/2)

Knowing.  122 mins.  PG-13.  Directed by Alex Proyas.  Written by Ryne Douglas Pearson and Juliet Snowden & Stiles White.  Starring Nicolas Cage and Rose Byrne.

Knowing is a movie tailor-made for Nicolas Cage's current career arc.  It's a preposterous, self-serious jumble of conspiracy thrillers, disaster movies, and alien attack flicks, and director Alex Proyas (of Dark City and I, Robot fame) seems to be cribbing right from the M. Night Shyamalan playbook.  Cage plays a widowed MIT professor whose son comes home with a page of numbers dug up from his school's 50 year-old time capsule.  As Cage soon discovers, the numbers portend every major global disaster for the past fifty years, and suggest that there are three more disasters still to come.  It's a silly premise that, while engaging enough, has no chance of offering a reasonable explanation to the audience.  I think the filmmakers know that there's no good way to explain the numbers so they just jump on board the end of days idea - and throw in some white rabbits, alien angels, and flaming moose (I told you this movie was ridiculous).  On the plus side, the special effects are pretty good, and Proyas does stage the two major disaster scenes in the movie with flair.  Knowing does take some risks at the end (not that they pay off), and it does strike a weird tone at times, but like Cage himself (box office successes aside), the movie is kind of a wash-out. 



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