Sunday, March 29, 2009

Review: Knowing (2009)

Knowing (2009) is an apocalyptic science fiction film in theaters now. It is 1959, Lexington, Massachusetts. A new local elementary celebrates its grand opening by burying a time capsule containing the students' drawings. The time capsule idea came from Lucinda Embry, a quiet and mentally disturbed girl who claims to hear strange whispering voices in her mind. In her drawing, she frantically writes down a list of random numbers. When she could not finish writing down the remaining numbers on the paper, her teacher finds her in the school basement scratching on the walls with her hands bloodied and bruised.

Fast forward fifty years later. The same elementary school opens the time capsule and hands out the drawings to the new generation of students. Caleb, the son of a MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) professor and astrophysicist John Koestler, receives Lucinda's image. When Caleb takes the picture home, John initially dismisses it as random numbers. However, he accidentally discovers that the numbers represents dates and number of deaths of epic disasters in the past fifty years.

After discovering the legitimacy of the numbers when a commercial plane crashed near Lexington, John believes his son was chosen to get Lucinda's prophecies as well as race against time to save people who are fated to die in these predictions. He searches for Lucinda's daughter, Diana, and her daughter, Abby. During their investigation, they discovered her mother's mobile home which contained news clippings of events and images from the Bible. Outside, the group encounter strange silent men dressed in coats who vanish in a flash of light. Together, they must figure out if they will survive the final epic disaster prediction.

Oh my goodness. Where do I even begin with this movie? The ending left me clueless and dissatisfied. I had high anticipation for Knowing because I generally liked Nicolas Cage's previous mystery-adventure films, National Treasure. Since Cage wants to the the next Indiana Jones mega-blockbuster actor, I was hoping he could explore the science fiction genre with a more decent, genius plot. Warning: This review contains many spoilers.

The film begins as a science fiction mystery case and ends obscurely with biblical connotations. Apocalypse meets E.T! The speechless dressed-in-black aliens are now the good guys? As Earth is being destroyed, these chosen children are running happily to the Tree of Life (??) on another unknown planet? I thought this film had a decent plot but the ending completely destroys it. If the viewer does not watch the entire movie, they would be left confused and helpless.

The main characters are dead, and the chosen children live. What's the point of the disasters in the past 50 years? Was this mankind's punishment for believing in false religion? I was rooting for Nicolas Cage to prevent disasters and saves lives. But he realized he could not stop the apocalpyse (the second half of the film contains many biblical references of Genesis and Revelations). As a scientist, he returns home to reunite with his parents (pastor, mind you!) so that he can become a good, faithful son again. Do you see how the plot is all over the place now?

Don't get me wrong, I am into fantasy and the paranormal. That's the entire purpose of my blog. However, good works must have good, flowing plots. I just learned that some critics believe the film contains Scientology beliefs, a controversial nondenominational religion which states humans have lost touch with their inner selves and must become rehabilitated through spiritual means. If you're not familiar with why this religion is popular in Hollywood, look up famous members such as Tom Cruise and John Travolta). One common aspect is the belief that humans are reincarnated on other planets before coming to Earth.

Overall, I would give Knowing one out of four stars. It was so bad that the second half completes distorts everything. Don't watch this film unless you're a Scientology believer or a major fan of ambiguous, senseless films. (Note: I am a firm believer when something becomes too complex, I believe you will lose the audience and lose the basic theme of a movie.) It ends on a flat note.

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