June issue 2009
Fear of the Unknown
Despite an interesting plot, director Alex Proyas’ Knowing, starring Nicolas Cage, received mixed reviews from viewers. Although Proyas’ previous films, like Dark City and cult hit, The Crow, fared well with audiences, this time round his efforts with this visionary and ambitious project fail to leave an impact. The plot, which revolves around a piece of paper that is exhumed from a time capsule after 50 years and contains revelations of coming disasters, is, indeed, intriguing. But it fails to sustain interest.
Astrophysicist John Koestler (Nicolas Cage) is a grief-stricken widower trying to raise his son, Caleb (Chandler Canterbury). He happens to be present at his son’s school function when a 50-year-old time capsule is dug up and found to contain letters and drawings by school children dating back to 1959, which are subsequently distributed among the students. Incidentally, Caleb brings home a letter written by a mysterious schoolgirl (Lara Robinson), who hears strange whispers and keeps to herself most of the time.
Late in the night, Koestler comes across the letter and when he realises that the little girl has penned some serious revelations about an apocalypse, the film goes into an overdrive of hysteria, making the incidents seem forced and abrupt. For instance, in one of the scenes, one sighs with impatience as Cage tries to scare away an unidentified albino who might not be who he seems.
Despite a strong supporting cast of Rose Byrne and Ben Mendelssohn, the lack of character development makes them seem somewhat uninvolved in the film. Byrne’s character Diana,the daughter of the clairvoyant schoolgirl, who incidentally, also has a clairvoyant daughter, (both played by Lara Robinson) is either painfully quiet or irritatingly hysterical in the movie. Even as she tries to look involved, her performance nonetheless makes her seem detached. The high point of the movie are the visual effects used superbly in the plane crash scene and the climax.
However, the film fails to impress. The execution of the plot is flawed and messy. The climax raises more questions rather than providing any answers. The only bright spot in the movie is the performance of the exceptionally gifted Nicolas Cage, who lives up to expectations.
Knowing can be termed a “passable movie.” Some viewers might watch it for its sci-fi angle but halfway through it they, too, are bound to get bored.