Knowing(released Mar/09)starring Nicholas Cage,is an ambitious movie which works on several levels,trying to be many things,all leading to one bigger dynamic.Does it succeed?....let's see.
Cage is an astrophysics teacher,and a widower with a young boy to raise.With flashbacks we see that the public school his son attends is opening a time capsule,50 years after it was put into the ground.Back then a class was picked to submit drawings from each student to put into it.One student's submission was just a seeming jumble of numbers;meaningless.Each student upon the capsule's opening is given one of the letters,and Cage's son receives the page of numbers.He brings it home and dad takes a close look at it.Through some research he discovers the numbers are actually dates,map coordinates and a body count.The older dates and places correspond to incidents and accidents which have taken lives,quite accurately indeed.When he becomes personally involved in one of the incidents that has been seemingly predicted,he knows he has come upon something extraordinarily mind and life changing.
He finds out that the girl who originally wrote the paper has passed away,but he manages to track down her daughter,who herself has a young daughter.The daughter does not take his presence and persistence with any grace at all.She promptly leaves,wanting nothing to do with Cage.However circumstances will draw the pair back together.In the meantime Cage becomes personally involved with further predictions and incidents.Also his son is being increasingly visited by men,unknown.They talk to him,whispering,and telling him they want him to come with them.Cage eventually sees them too,but cannot understand their purpose.
When the two parents come together once more they go to her mothers house.There Cage discovers further mysterious clues,especially some strange black,smooth stones;the same type that one of the strange men had already given to his son.While there four men appear and surround the vehicle with both children inside.Cage's son has the where with all to honk the horn,which scares the men off and gets the attention of the parents,who comes swiftly running.Cage goes after the men and actually finds and confronts one.But Cage is blinded by an extremely bright light which emanates from the man's mouth.
Cage re-examines the document's last lettering to find 33.His lady friend thinks it is EE,not two three's.Cage agrees,saying it stands for"everyone else".The last date is finally approaching and it is the day she said her mother told she would die.Cage gets a brainstorm and goes back to MIT where his worst fears are realized.There is a gigantic solar storm headed Earth's way which will wipe out all life as it is known.At first it is thought that hiding in a cave will do the trick and that is where they start off to go.But along the way Cage realizes this storm will kill everything,no matter how far underground they go.The place where they should be going is in or near her mothers home.However she has taken both children,and while at a gas station the strange men arrive and take both kids.She follows them but is killed by a side swiping transport truck.Cage arrives at the scene only to find her dead body.He continues on to her mothers home,driving into the forest until he comes onto a dry riverbed full of the self same smooth rocks that he has seen over and over.Following the river bed he finds not only the children but the men.It would seem these are not ordinary men.His answer soon comes as a spaceship hovers above,sending down an energy platform in which to transport up....the aliens and just the children.The whispering was only heard by the children and as such was meant ONLY for them.Father Cage has a tearful send off with his son as he and the girl are taken into the spaceship.
We see that there are other ships around the world also leaving the planet,presumably with similar human cargo.This has been a bare minimum rescue mission for the aliens to keep alive and someday repopulate the Earth.Cage returns to his father and mothers home and we see the surface of the Earth consumed by fire,taking all life with it.The children are then seen on a far distant alien planet,set for their new life there.
Had the movie ended either when Cage is on his knees as the spaceship lifts away with the children,or after we see a plethora of spaceships leaving the earth,that would have been a much better,and I think,a more intelligent ending.As it is,watching the earth being destroyed and the children on some distant alien world,is really unnecessary and gratuitous.And speaking of gratuitous,the violence during the subway train wreck scene,should never have been shown.A runaway subway car runs smack dab into another,sending it careening off its tracks and into a crowded subway station.We get to see many,many folks dying of some horrible injuries,from many angles including inside the train.This was just mindless and senseless killing in grimy detail which I thought detracted from the film terribly.
Cage and company do a good job in the acting department,and a good sense of suspense is kept going throughout the film.
Technically speaking the film is in its' original w/s a/r of 2:35:1 and is clear and crisp.There are two featurettes on the films making and commentary.
All in all this is a nice film starring Cage,which could have been better.There are alot of divergent elements that come together in the end,but it seems at times the film is trying to do a little too much at once.That coupled with the weaker ending and the violence for violence sake,takes away from the films punch.3 1/2 stars.Recommended.