Knowing Mixes Cleverness for Confusion

“The caves won’t save us! Nothing can!”


Photo courtesy of IMDB

Solomon Kenworthy

     You don’t need to know what the numbers mean, trust me. 

     Knowing was released in 2009, and was directed by Alex Proyas. The film stars Ben Mendelsohn, Rose Byrne, and Nicolas Cage. An M.I.T. professor discovers a list of numbers from 1959, that seem to mysteriously predict tragic events. He soon figures out there are 3 dates on the list that haven’t happened yet, and must rush to find the answers to stop these catastrophes. 

     Ben Mendelsohn mumbles his way through his performance as Phil. There were parts where subtitles are required to understand what he’s saying, which in retrospect isn’t too damaging to the film because his character holds very little reason to exist in the plot. Rose Byrne as Diana, is wooden. She could be replaced with a literal wooden door, with a smiley face drawn on it, and get the same performance. 

     Nicolas Cage’s acting is enjoyable… if you’re a fan of seeing how low an actor will go for a paycheck. It seems as if he’s trying, and viewers do get a classic “Nic Cage screams his line for no reason” moment, but other than that it’s not good. It’s very clear that he didn’t try anything with his character, except for what the director told him to do. His character professor John Koestler, feels like a discount Benjamin Gates

     The script is filled with all sorts of crazy ideas, with the same aurora found within M. Night Shyamalan’s Signs. The mysteries and questions are answered, and it’s not as if the reveals are necessarily bad, but they just make you tilt your head and go, “huh?” The choices made in the script are so bizarre. For example, multiple times in the film there are these mysterious, speechless wanderers, that are following the main characters, but the reveal of who they are is the weirdest thing you’d expect. 

     Knowing tries preaching weird symbolic messages, which make the script seem very unbalanced. These ideas are very unnatural and awkward, at points it feels like a Saturday Night Live skit. The pacing is so slow that 20 seconds feels like forty-two thousand, nine hundred, and sixty-seven years. Very unpleasant to sit through. The dialogue is dreadful as well. I’m not sure who allowed these people to write a screenplay, but all parties involved need to be stopped. 

     There are several match to action errors, they become so prevalent that it distracts from the main story. The mixture of the poorly lit scenes, bad cinematography, and an ugly tint over the film add to the distraction, and overall desire to turn off the movie and watch practically anything else. The CGI does not hold up well, it’s clear most of the budget went to Cage’s paycheck. 

     Knowing is the weirdest film I’ve ever seen. So much of it makes no sense, it boggles my mind. I have no idea how anyone could look at the film for more than 5 minutes without getting a headache, I know I couldn’t. 


[My grade for Knowing is a D]