Archive for March 27, 2009

Knowing isn’t Everything.

knowing-movie-posterThe two words that reverberated through my head as I watched the credits rolling up after watching Knowing the other day were:  Intrinsically Weird.  That is really the best, most concise review I can give.

I wasn’t really all that interested in seeing this film, because the set-up from the commercials, of Nicolas Cage circiling random numbers and claiming they have meaning, reminded me too much of The Bible Code that made such a sensation in 1997.  Basically it felt as if the makers of this had waited long enough for the general public to forget about the notariety and then fictionalized the heck out of it.  My other thought going in, was why on earth does Nicolas Cage keep doing action movies?  Doesn’t he realize he’s getting a little old for this stuff?

That criticism died pretty quickly as I realized that he is, in fact, the dad in this flick.  The alcoholic, borderline negligent dad, but the dad, nevertheless.  And I will say that the film was much creepier than I originally anticipated.  I was expecting something like National Treasure III, the space edition, with some intellectual suspense thrown in, but this had some textbook horror-movie scenes in it, which were downright creepy—though not really all that intellectual.

The twist at the end, though, the big, climactic twist that is supposed to knock you flat on your face… well, it’s not that much of a surprise, really.  Except perhaps in how very very far they go in following it through.

I have to admit, I was very interested in learning that it was an Australian-made film, though, as the only other film I could compare to the way the end of this one played out, is a 1977 Richard Chamberlain film called The Last Wave, about a lawyer in Sydney who’s assigned to defend five aboriginal men in court, and in attempts to understand them ends up being drawn through a spritual journey and given a prophecy that a tidal wave is going to overrun the continent and kill all the people.  The end is as ambiguous as Knowing‘s, but done in a more artistic way.  Now that I think about it, I’m beginning to wonder if this was more conscious than I’m considering, because the films do play out in such a similar way, though Knowing gives a light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel hint, whereas The Last Wave simply ends.  A sign of the times, I suppose.

That said, Knowing was certainly fun to watch.  It left me scratching my head at the end, but did it in an entertaining way, at least.  This one won’t be winning any awards, but it’ll chill you up to the point where it spins off at the end.  And the kids are great, each in their own way.  The boy is just cute, and the little girl is fascinating to watch.

I’d recommend checking out The Last Wave, though.  I watched it for an Intercultural Communications through Film class that I took in college, and that was one of my favorite films from the class.  Very creepy in its own way, lots of concentration on “the other” and mysticism and all of that, but done in a much smarter way than Knowing. I’d be interested in watching the two side by side, though.

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