Friday, March 20, 2009
Knowing is a frustrating film. It begins somewhere near the territory of The Number 23 and various “Bible Code”-style prophecies when astrophysicist John Koestler (Nicolas Cage) sees patterns and predictions of calamity in a list of numbers written by a schoolgirl fifty years previous. It then shifts abruptly into Signs territory, with no less than two conversations about whether the events of our lives are shaped by design or by sheer chance.
Elements from director Alex Proyas’s own Dark City rear their heads in the form of pale, menacing men in black (the main one is even billed as “The Stranger,” as the alien villains in Dark City were known.) From there, Knowing lurches abruptly onto a cosmic scale only obliquely hinted at in the movie’s first half. In trying to be so many things, Knowing ultimately becomes nothing.