I broke my Nicolas Cage rule to check out Knowing last week. My Nicolas Cage rule is pretty simple. I basically don’t pay to see movies that feature him heavily. I find him to be rather annoying and rarely worth the ticket price. It’s a personal thing. His quirks and mannerisms just get under my skin. Fortunately, I found him to be tolerable in Knowing, a movie that both intrigued and disturbed me.
Its premise was an interesting one. In a small Massachusetts town in the 1950s, an elementary school class buries a time capsule. 50 years later the capsule is uncovered, its contents distributed to a new generation. Among the items is a mysterious piece of paper with several series of numbers. Nicolas Cage plays John Koestler, a widowed college professor. It is John’s son Caleb who ends up with the numerical code. John decodes the numbers, and discovers its chilling meaning. The code represents an accurate catalogue of every global disaster over the last century. All of the events have happened in the past, save for two that are supposed to happen in the future. The code features the date and number of fatalities associated with each event. John is unsure about a certain portion of the code and contacts the adult daughter of the code’s author, a woman about his age with a daughter close in age to Caleb. How convenient. The woman is unhelpful, but John discovers the remaining numbers’ meaning on his own when he unwittingly witnesses the next disaster. While on his way to visit the woman he witnesses/experiences a plane crash from the ground, fulfilling the code’s prophecy. He realizes that the remaining numbers provide the events’ location. In the midst of all this, Caleb is being visited by random creepy, pale, trench coat-clad people who whisper to him. Coincidentally, the “whisper people” also visit the daughter of Nicolas Cage’s new lady friend. In a truly frightening scene, one of the whisper people reveals a chilling scene to Caleb. He shows Caleb a world being destroyed by the equivalent of a nuclear bomb. Trees and animals burn beneath an orange sky, with no human beings in sight.
John tries to reveal the last portion of the code, which was unfinished. He wants to prevent the last tragedy, which as it turns out, is going to wipe out the rest of the planet. The whisper people are actually trying to help Caleb rather than harm him. He and the girl have been chosen to be part of the group that will re-populate the Earth after its initial destruction. This is where the movie got weird and abstract, and a little corny. I don’t mind happy endings, but it just got strange to watch the whisper people morph into aliens and transport the kids up into space. I apologize for the spoilers, but this was a strange movie. The premise was eerily intriguing, and there were some awesome special effects, but I can’t give Knowing much more than a tepid endorsement. The Nic Cage annoyance gauge remained pretty low – which was good – but the movie was just silly enough at the end to dampen my enthusiasm. It was worth seeing but is definitely not a “must see.”