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I never officially reviewed Knowing upon its theatrical release after missing the press screening, but I did write an editorial after catching it in the theater on my own and discussed the wide gap that seemed to form between those that liked it and those that did not. I, for one, liked the film with a few reservations such as the fact it is too long and Nic Cage has never been a personal favorite of mine and in this one he can get quite Cage-y. However, I can’t really recommend it as a title to purchase even though it does raise a few eyebrows and asks several questions of the audience. As it turns out I didn’t miss as much of the subtext as I thought I may have in the theaters, which meant returning to this film made the length issue really stand out this time, making the experience nowhere near as engaging as it was the first time around.
For those that don’t know the film stars Nic Cage as an MIT professor whose son stumbles onto a 50-year-old coded message that appears to be accurately predicting past, present and future disasters with the date, number killed and the exact whereabouts of the disasters. What could it all mean? In a mix of religion and science and an attempt to provide a scenario in which both could coexist, Knowing is a mind-bender that split critics, but managed to entertain audiences to the tune of over $150 million worldwide. Directed by Alex Proyas (Dark City, The Crow) it shouldn’t come as a surprise the film is quite accomplished and definitely challenges the audience, especially the ones paying attention.
In a rather dull commentary included on this Blu-ray disc, and one Proyas actually doesn’t seem to be all that interested in making as he is quizzed by a moderator named Mark throughout, the director does reveal a few nuggets of interest. He says early on one of the main reasons he agreed to make Knowing was “because so many films threaten to end the world, and at the last moment, the world is saved by some heroic act,” and how he felt that was unrealistic. He goes on to say, “I think this film actually takes the very brave viewpoint of saying, ‘Well, you know, maybe we won’t get to save the world.'” As someone who saw the trailer for this film and felt once again all the pieces to the puzzle would fall into their stereotypical places, I was pleasantly surprised with this film’s outcome.
The commentary goes a bit awry at times, especially when Mark asks some seriously terrible questions such as concern over scientists getting mad at Proyas for his use of a solar burst and then even asks, “Why show the end of the world?” Proyas laughs a lot of the dumb questions off, and ultimately finds a way to answer them, but it just makes for some serious gaps in actual conversation. This is a film in which the commentary track should have included scholars from both the religious and scientific side of things and Proyas’s commentary would have been far more appealing had it not been recorded prior to the film’s release, but that’s what we get nowadays.
Also included on this Blu-ray are a pair of making-of/behind-the-scenes featurettes that are decent, but hardly worthy of discussion. The best part is an approximately five minute look at the making of the plane crash sequence and how Proyas managed to get it all in one shot. From an audio/visual perspective we once again have an impressive package with of crisp visuals accompanied by a busy DTS audio track.
Overall, I definitely recommend this film to everyone. Knowing is a film to see at least once and make sure you watch it with someone who enjoys discussing movies because it opens up a lot of doors for conversation. I guess I was just a little upset upon seeing it a second time and realizing there wasn’t much more to find when I assumed there would be. This isn’t the fault of the film, as I may have just my raised expectations a bit too high. Knowing is a movie to definitely check out and I still have a hard time believing anyone could actually hate it, and would assume many of you may actually want to pick up a copy for yourself.
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