What is it with Nic Cage and precognition?
Seriously, the last movie I caught him in was that movie Next, where he could predict the future up to a couple minutes in advance, now he’s got the capacity to predict farther out. More on that in a minute, I just wanted to get that point in there that Nic Cage and suspense movies about precognition seem to go together like beans and rice, or failing that, chocolate and peanut butter.
Anyway, this time Nic’s back in the precog department with Knowing, only this time, he’s got a roadmap of the future written by a clearly insane ten year old girl. At least I think she’s ten—it’s not like I got a copy of her birth certificate. Said road map is put into a time capsule as part of a school building’s grand opening and sunk into the ground for the next fifty years. Fifty years later, Nic’s kid gets a hold of the road map, which is basically just a series of numbers. How handy that Nic’s playing an astrophysics professor at MIT!
When Nic finally puts his huge analytical MIT brain to work, he discovers that the series of numbers on the page essentially tell the future, in unsettling detail. As he works to uncover the secrets behind the numbers, he’ll learn a whole lot of OTHER unsettling details until the final unsettling ending. This ending, sadly, I absolutely cannot tell you about because it will be a MONSTER spoiler.
Basically, the first two hours or so of Knowing are a series of really, really awesome moments, one right after the next, and you’ll spend a good chunk of the movie with your jaw dropped. Let me put it this way—there’s this one truly spectacular scene with an airliner that just GOT me. I was downright amazed—the last time I’d seen anything this eye-popping with an airplane was one of the last scenes in Pulse.
Even the plot holes are so cool that you’ll slide right over them—for instance, watch for Nic’s cell phone to spend a lot of time unable to get a signal, until his son calls him from a landline phone, and then suddenly, not a pop or a hiss. I didn’t even catch that one until about five minutes AFTER the movie ended. It was just that cool.
However, the ending, which contains massive twists, isn’t exactly the greatest thing since sliced bread. While I understand, from a narrative perspective, that they really didn’t have a fat lot of choice BUT to do what they did, it still left a whole lot of unanswered questions that didn’t sit well with me. And it was sad to have to go out on that note—for crying out loud, this was an AWESOME movie. For the first two hours my mind was BLOWN. But then, they hit the ending, and suddenly it all just falls apart by a sequence that seems almost tacked on.
In the immortal words of Mr. Horse, no sir, I didn’t like it.
But still, considering the sheer ratio of good to suck in this movie, and further considering that the suck was of the most minor sort to begin with, it’s still hard to do anything but recommend this movie. You really ought to get a thrill out of Knowing, especially if you’re a science wonk.