The film opens in 1959 at a Massachusetts
elementary school. A time capsule is buried on school grounds to be opened in 2009. Each student is asked to
submit a drawing depicting their idea of what the world will look in 50
years. Lucinda Embry (Lara Robinson "Work in Progress") is hearing voices and they
instruct to write a seemingly
random series of numbers. Once the capsule is
opened, that sheet comes into the possession of Caleb Koestler
(Chandler Canterbury "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"), who shows it to his astrophysicist father, John
(Nicolas Cage "Raising Arizona"). John becomes obsessed by the paper and determines that
it's a list of all of the major disasters that have
occurred over the past 50 years.
Three future catastrophes are on the list, and John is determined to prevent them from happening, to the point where he tracks down Lucinda's daughter,
Diana (Rose Bryne "20 Weeks Later"), and granddaughter, Abby (Lara Robinson), in the hope that they might be able to help. Meanwhile,
mysterious strangers watch John and Caleb from afar.
For a while, Knowing, directed by Alex Proyas ("I Robot") touches on some interesting ideas,
including questions about fate, chance, and predestination. There's
also the concept of numbers forming the ultimate, underlying foundation
of the universe. Unfortunately, although the screenplay spends an
inordinate amount of time with numerology and questions of whether the
future can be known or predicted, these elements don't have a lot to do
with the film's final trajectory. They are simply ways to misdirect the audience and make the resolution a surprise.
Nicolas Cage is once again in his manic, pseudo action-hero mode, which is fine except
that he never radiates much in the way of humanity. We recognize that
John loves his son because we are told that by the screenplay, not
because Cage is in any way believable. The movie is all too ridiculous to be taken seriously, yet strangely too serious to be dismissed.