Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Knowing (2009) Review:

There are people who believe that things happen for a reason and then there are people who believe things happen out of randomness. As if there is no order to how the universe works - it just happens by chance. But what if there was an actual systematic method to knowing (ergo the title) when such major tragic events would occur? This is what happens when John Koestler (Nicolas Cage) gets his hands on a note that was put into a time capsule fifty years in the past. The note contains a map of numbers that specifically says when the next tragic disaster will be. That's some premise.

The list of numbers
In some ways, it mixes the ideas of The Number 23 (2007), 2012 (2009) and Final Destination (2000) all into one big question. What is the purpose of this list of numbers? Why was it written and who knew of such dates? It really is an interesting premise. The idea digs into the psyche of the human mind and makes viewers wonder if things do happen just randomly or calculated already or brought on by belief. But that is one of the far few things that make this movie any good. In fact the only other commendable components about this movie are its special effects and realistic images. The acting isn't bad but that's a must anyway because that's what a movie should have, decent acting.

Back to writing. First is the idea of making this a supernatural genre film. It wasn't needed nor was it a smart move. By doing this, it takes away the whole mystery of where the paper with all the numbers came from. Why ruin that? The script also contains little to no explanation about anything besides what is currently happening . It's not even funny. For example, there is a character that doesn't speak in this film and it is never explained to why this is. Another moment is when the same character gives out these black smooth rocks to one of the main characters. Even by the end, it is never explained to what the significance of these rocks were for. It's just baffling to why these kinds of things aren't explained.

When disaster hits
Glad to know the guy behind this story, Ryne Douglas Pearson isn't doing any future projects yet. His writing needs more work. Amazing as this is though, the film was directed by Alex Proyas. The man behind The Crow (1994), Dark City (1998) and I, Robot (2004). Why couldn't Mr. Proyas see the flaws in the script? Lastly, of all things to look forward to, not even composer Marco Beltrami's score to the film truly helped. It did contain the creepy feel and even some emotional tunes but there were some scenes even then that didn't match the mood. There was no theme either making it stuck just to the background.

Some scenes were helped by CGI in the film though. That at least was a positive although audiences may be surprised by the realistic nature of the film. In fact, it may be too graphic for the MPAA to call it PG-13. Some of the disaster scenes were very intense. There's no guts but there is blood. I was shocked to see how one scene was treated though. It was a scene where some person was hit and the audience will here a WILHELM SCREAM. It's even stated in the trivia! Was that supposed to be taken seriously or comically? But who would want to take that kind of situation comical? I don't understand. It's not worth the time to try and figure out.

The special effects are decent as well as the mysterious plot but they can't overcome the bad story telling along with unexplained subplots. A very frustrating sit.

Points Earned --> 3:10

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