2009-04-24 / Entertainment/Lifestyles


'Knowing' - Numbers Game
By Robert Snyder

Actor Nicholas Cage has two movie personae: He is either sensitive and sympathetic ("Honeymoon in Vegas") or over-the-top crazy ("Wild at Heart"). In "Knowing," he's the former.

Because the story is about a lone man trying to stop cataclysmic inevitabilities known only to him, a little wildness may have been in order. Still, "Knowing" makes up for a surprisingly low-key Cage with eye-popping special effect sequences, which may make you want to stay away from airplanes, subways and New York City. Not good in our post-9/11 world.

Adapted and directed by Alex Proyas ("I, Robot"), "Knowing" has M.I.T. astrophysicist and widower John Koestler (Cage) investigating a page of handwritten numbers which arrives from school courtesy of his hearingimpaired, precocious young son, Caleb (Chandler Canterbury). The strange spreadsheet comes from a time capsule formally put in the campus ground in 1959 and written by a spooked and spooky student (Lara Robinson). Brainy dad burns the midnight oil to discover that the numbers specify exact dates and locations of disasters occurring throughout the past 50 years (the 9/11 tragedy included), with three more yet to come.

Frantic, John now sets out to stop the inevitable, but he's not frantic enough. Hence, the spectacular special effects sequences.

Further complications occur involving bizarre blond thin characters called, "The Whispering People," who make contact with Caleb and a little girl, Lucinda (Lara Robinson, again), who is the granddaughter of the spooky author of the strange spreadsheet.

Her mother, Diana (Rose Byrne), daughter of the spooky girl, also comes into play as a possible love interest for John. However, that option is exorcised when end-of-the-world prophesies are introduced.

The Apocalypse has a way of upsetting people's sex lives.

"Knowing" is intriguing as a footnote to Cage's "National Treasure" franchise. It would have been better if he had gone over the top with the plot.

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