Knowing (2009)

Dir. Alex Proyas
Starring: Nicholas Cage

Tony, Joel, Penny and perhaps Grace would have the best chance of liking this–although, except for Tony, I’d be surprised the above really loved this. Pretty much everyone should see this on dvd. It would be an OK dvd to see on a night when you’re bored. Objectively, I think the film is about a 4, but, subjectively, it kept my interest enough (around a 6). So I averaged the two. The metacritic score was 40.

In 1959 an elementary school buries a time capsule filled with pictures drawn by children. One girl writes a series of numbers that ends up in the hands of the son of an MIT professor who finds meaning in these numbers.

Ebert raved about this, calling it “…among the best sci-fi movies I’ve ever seen….” The comment leaves me scratching my head, even after having read his review. Except for maybe Tony, I’m pretty sure most of you would feel the same way. Yes, you may like it? But “among the best ever?” (I know there aren’t a ton of great sci-fi films, but still.) There’s just not enough in the film to warrant that remark. The characters are cliched and bland. We have the scientist who is confronted with the supernatural. At the same time, he has adopted a philosophy that there is no meaning or purpose to life because of a past tragedy. The unbelievable events happening in the film challenge these beliefs. Nothing fresh is added to these well-worn story-lines. I also found the film’s exploration of determinism and randomness superficial and dull. Others may disagree on this point, but I just didn’t think the film said much–except to show events that went contrary to that. Using Nicholas Cage, who, when he started out, was an interesting actor, but is no longer, doesn’t help. The resolution of the film was kind of a let down, too. On the other hand, I’m preferred it to a perfect, but forced and fake happy ending.

There were some plot points that were problematic, too. I thought the biggest plot point involved the purpose of predicting the future. If the aliens could speak to the chosen ones, why did they need to predict future disasters?

Having said all that, the film does move along at a good pace and many of the scenes that were supposed to be exciting were effective. (Ebert raved about this.) But this did not outweigh the other problems I mentioned earlier.

Reid was right (gasp!) I enjoyed this film, but it won’t stick with me. While I watched it was entertaining and a bit suspenseful, which had a lot to do with the pacing of the film. There were jumps in logic, but I only really thought about it after the film was over. It did not bother me while I was watching. Good popcorn flick.

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