2009, Movies

Knowing (2009, Alex Proyas)

It’s kind of hard to describe how dumb this movie is. It’s also extremely dispiriting to know that it was written and directed by the man who made Dark City, a personal favourite.

This review contains SPOILERS.

I have read reviews that state the premise is good. The premise is not good. A little girl in the ’50s knows disasters are coming over the next 50 years so she writes them down and puts them in a time capsule, not to be opened for 50 years? Yes, sure, she’s a child. Maybe the predictions weren’t supposed to go into the time capsule, but it still makes no sense. I mean, putting aside the problem that this seems utterly arbitrary – what is a major disaster exactly, over 47 deaths? – there’s also the problem that, once you know why “they” are contacting the children, you are then stuck with the unexplained issue that they contacted a child who they told was going to die, even though they are ostensibly contacting those who are they saving.

Cage’s character is a terrible astrophysics professor (which is not surprising); determinism is not a serious scientific idea. None of the scientists really act like they should. And then there’s the father: the dynamic between Cage’s character and the character’s father is the laziest “scientist from a religious family” backstory ever. It’s just a false conflict. Cage’s character then starts doing really stupid things, and nobody (beyond the whisperers) decides to intervene with his behaviour that could only possibly be considered the behaviour of a terrorist in the eyes of the FBI (calling in threats, being really close to disasters).

Then, the reveal happens. It is a monumentally dumb one and not just because it causes further questions about the idiotic premise. It seems to have been rewritten from an “ancient aliens” type of bullshit to a religious bullshit, wherein the children are essentially two of many Adam and Eves. But, course, aliens completely undermine the idea of anthrocentric religion. So which is it, film? God or aliens? It feels as though the film was hijacked from one idea to another (i.e. Christian propaganda) but it may also have just never been clear.

This is a monumentally dumb movie made all the more frustrating in how that dumbness is not entertaining, but infuriating.


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