Certificate: 15
Running time: 121 mins
Director: Alex Proyas
Starring: Nicolas Cage, Rose Byrne, Chandler Canterbury, Lara Robinson
Genre: Drama, Mystery
Country: USA

The one man that could have made Titanic an even worse film than it was represents in the first of this sites Salute to Cage.  Straight out of the blocks is Knowing, a sci-fi mystery film that sees Cage’s on screen son Caleb (Canterbury) participate in a time capsule opening at his school.  While each child ends up with an outdated view of the world from fifty years ago Caleb is presented with a sequence of numbers, a sequence that appears to have predicted every natural and man made disaster over the last five decades and if correct is about to herald more including the end of the world.

Scholarly John Koestler (Cage) tasks himself with understanding and, where possible, preventing the forthcoming disasters from taking place and is accompanied along the way by Diana (Rose Byrne; Bridesmaids) and her daughter Abby (Lara Robinson who also plays Lucinda 50 years earlier).  Koestler turns to mathematics to decipher the events and in doing so threatens to offer us something with a little more substance than National Treasures, this threat is short lived and probably best kept for Tim Kring’s Touch which evolves out of the same pond as Knowing and stars Kiefer Sutherland and Danny Glover.  As the events reach the present day the equations give way to explosions and a mixture of breathtaking choreography and breathtakingly awkward CGI.  The train derailment which Koestler arrives at with just enough time to witness has a level of authenticity that leaves you marvelling at how beautifully destructive the whole thing is but true to form this is a Nicolas Cage film so nothing can be left unseen, unsaid or to chance and Knowing tips it’s hand in attempting to make this disaster even more awe inspiring than it already is and in doing so tips it’s hand into the realm of absurdity.  I know, this is a realm that Nicolas Cage is a scholar and his son has inadvertently been handed a map of the future and our subsequent lack there of is absurd but there’s only so much disbelief that can be suspended before the dam bursts and we’re all floating around in ridiculousness.

Cage starts out rather restrained but the real mathematical equation of the film is Cage = Plot silliness + (budget x wtf) and it’s only a matter of time before he slips back into his psychedelic Elvis impression but the true measure of the Cage absurdity spectrum is when he tips out of being Elvis and just stares at things.  Sometimes the Academy should be able to take it back, Cage’s staring and overacting reminds me of Captain Corelli if Captain Corelli was completely off his face on glue and Night Nurse.  There’s something about Cage in this mode, it’s awful but in it’s own precious way it’s highly enjoyable.  Byrne showcases the talent and ability that oozes from her as she’s able to make all of her on screen moments honest and watchable which in this film is nothing short of a miracle.  The rest of the cast are like chicken soup in that you appreciate the unchallenging nature of them but you can’t help but think they’re trying to put a shift in and get out before things really go the shape of the pear.

As the film takes a turn towards the mysterious and other worldly the audience is confronted with their first test and if it’s a test you don’t pass then there’s little point continuing as the film takes a drastic and uncheck pointed left into the land of WTF.  As much as I would love to discuss just how unbelievably idiotic/brilliant the last chapter of the film actually is I can’t bring it upon myself to take that 40 minutes of “but what…how…why…what?” away from people who sit perplexed during the closing credits, for those who have experienced and are now knowing click [here] if you’re uncertain as to what I’m talking about.  It’s beyond ridiculous, it’s Nicolas.

The film has a general feel of a recovering alcohol with the will power of a nine year old.  It sets out with the best intensions, it strives from respectability and intellectual understanding but you know it simply won’t last.  You want the best for it but you know it’s only a matter of time before it’s screaming outside your house that “life’s like custard and if you can’t accept that I’ll sleep in my shoes” why’s meant by that?  Who knows, who cares it’s ridiculous.  One redeeming quality about the film is that it appears to be a thinly veiled attack on a bullshit Hollywood religion starring a man who freely admits to prank calling devout followers in his spare time.  Regardless of how bad the film is, and believe me for all of it’s budget and ability to attract talented individuals it’s completely devoid of an quality it’s almost nice that it’s little more than a multi million dollar dog turd in a flaming bag left on the steps of Hollywood.  Go Cage!


Chip Lary said...

I went into this film with no expectations, neither to like it because the director did Dark City, nor to hate it because Cage was in it. I ended up being pleasantly surprised. I thought it was a decent film. I certainly didn't have the problems with the plot that you did. While it's not great, it not a disaster (pun intended) either.

Alex Jowski said...

I will agree that this is a terrible movie. [SPOILER] However it was brave enough to create an end-of-the-world scenario with no hope of preventing it - though this basically made the entire movie pointless.

John Baxter said...

Yeah that brave v pointless debate is an interesting one. It's a shame as it had some potential but the shark / bunny was well and truly jumped / hopped.

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