Review: ‘Knowing’ Offers Great Suspense, But Gets Too Spacy

Fifty years after an elementary school buried a time capsule to commemorate it opening, young Caleb Koestler is among the students who witness its unearthing. Of the many envelopes that contain the original students’ drawings of what the future would look like, Caleb gets the one envelope that doesn’t feature robots or space exploration. Instead, he gets a list of the date, death toll and coordinates of every major disaster of the past 50 years with three more that haven’t occurred yet.

It is actually Caleb’s father, John Koestler, who discovers the pattern of the numbers and spends the next two hours trying to prevent the inevitable end of the world. Filled with suspense, action-packed disaster sequences and an intense sci-fi ending, “Knowing” is a must see for all disaster-movie lovers.

Nicholas Cage plays the recently widowed John Koestler, an astrophysics professor at MIT. Koestler tries to work through his depression while taking care of his precocious son, Caleb,

Chandler Canterbury, who is also dealing with his own grief, shares an intense but weathered bond that culminates in Koestler’s ultimate sacrifice for the continuation of human existence.

The first 90 minutes are spent watching Koestler decode the numbers, attempt to explain what he’s discovered to a skeptical colleague, try to prevent two major disasters and then realize that all his efforts have been in vain. Both the plane crash and train wreck scenes are amazing. No blood and guts but a few flaming bodies earn the movie its PG-13 rating. Both scenes are executed flawlessly and are probably the best parts of the entire movie.

Midpoint through the movie, Nordic-looking “whisper people” begin to appear and the movie begins to take shape as a sci-fi thriller complete with blue angel aliens and a new Eden on another planet. The ending may be a little too deep and different from what the movie originally appeared to be for everyone to leave the theater happy but it was still good for what it was.

Cage is as good as you can expect him to be. He does seem to occupy the skin of the tormented father well enough to be convincing, but his scientific side is lacking. His performance can get a bit dry at certain points, but he pulls the role off well enough.

Canterbury does an amazing job playing the kind of creepy kid with doses of sarcasm throughout his performance. B plus performances, A minus plot and A plus effects make for a decent date movie with underlying religious and moral tones.