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The Cinematic Katzenjammer: April 13: Knowing


April 13: Knowing

"A teacher opens a time capsule that has been dug up at his son's elementary school; in it are some chilling predictions -- some that have already occurred and others that are about to -- that lead him to believe his family plays a role in the events that are about to unfold"

   Knowing is a weird movie. It starts off as a kind of mystery thriller and ends as a wanna-be prophetic sci-fi epic. It takes itself way too seriously and instead of banking on being over-the-top campy, it's just bad. Yet, it's also confusingly good, explaining the weird. Earlier in Cage Week, in my National Treasure review (read here), I mention how much I would love to take a class taught by the great Cage. Well, in Knowing, my dream comes true and he plays a college professor of astrophysics named John (believable, right?). John discovers a piece of paper that came out of a time capsule at his kid's school. On the paper are a bunch of numbers that John connects to a bunch of disasters that occurred in the past fifty years, including 9/11. John sees that they are in chronological order, and that there are a few "events" remaining on the list. Cue the classic Cage and his wild attempt to save the world, thus Knowing

Astrophysicist right here. 

   Knowing suffers from a horrible script and a pretty terrible plot but, for some reason, it's not as awful as one would think. The film is directed by Alex Proyas (The Crow, Dark City) and as always, he has a great sense of style for his films. Knowing is terrific to look at and each disaster scene plays out like the beginning of a Final Destination film (you know, the best part). The special effects are very well done and they really save the film from flushing down the drain of unwatchable. With the effects and one hell of a score, Knowing is rather unsettling at times. 

Cage has done worse. 

  Overall, I would hesitate to recommend Knowing. It has it's moments and the first part of the film is actually good. It's not until the third act that everything falls apart and you wonder what the f**k just happened. Knowing is not a film you'll love and certainly not something you'd run out and buy right away, but it's unique. Knowing borderlines the awful, and I can't help but think how much better it would be if it went all out over-the-top. It just takes itself too seriously, as something profound, and falls flat on its face at its conclusion. 

The Good:
great special effects and a score that reminds me of classic sci-fi flicks
The Bad:
weak dialogue and a ridiculous plot
The Ugly:
a somehow decent first and second acts only to be completely ruined by the finale

Overall: 5.9/10


Watch These Instead:
Sunshine- one of the best sci-fi films of the last twenty years, with similar themes to Knowing
Dark City- another apocalyptic tale from Alex Proyas
Children of Men- end of the world kind of story done right, with very memorable long-take scenes that make you wonder how they did it

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