Sunday, April 5, 2009

KNOWING that SPOILERS may follow is in your best interest

So I went to Knowing tonight. Sure, I'm a couple of weeks late, but oh well. I was thinking the movie looked good from the trailers, and I've liked Alex Proyas' other films (The Crow, Dark City, I, Robot), so I finally drug myself into the theater. I've gotta say, I'm glad I did.

The film has an interesting enough premise: a girl in 1959 writes a shit-ton of numbers on a sheet of paper and adds it to her class' time capsul. 50 years later, the time capsul is dug up and the paper uncovered. Nic Cage, being the super genius we all know he is, discovers that the numbers relate to every major disaster that has happened over the past 50 years (with 3 yet to occur). From there it's a little mystery, some cool effects, some distubring situations, and holy fuckness.

The acting isn't too shabby. A little bit of over-the-topness from Nicky, but what do you expect? The guy has had something of a losing streak lately, and it's nice to see him in a movie I'll actually admit to watching. Rose Byrne is in the film and she's a little--excessive at times, but for the most part acceptable. But let's face it, I didn't go to this movie for Oscar-worthy acting, and I don't think anyone else did either.

So what DID we go for? Glad you asked. The shit hitting the fan, to put it bluntly. This is a sci-fi film, but it's also a disaster movie. As such, there has to be some cool scenarios. Rest assured, there are. The effects kind of flip-flopped between being excellent to being "just decent", but the content of the scene as a whole really kept me from being overly critical of the CG and whatnot. There's a plane crash that looks badass (and, to be honest, I was a little shocked by the brutality of it), a subway crash that has it's ups and downs, and, well, I won't spoil the final hoorah...yet.

Note: Major SPOILERS follow.

Now I want to get into the part of this movie that really made me appreciate it. I think this movie did an excellent job of appealing to both sides of a never-ending debate: science or mircales, evolution or creation, chance or divine power.

Although on the surface they say that the events in this film are the result of chance or science (mechanical malfunctions, weather, and solar flares, to be precise), one could also watch Knowing and see all kinds of religious symbolism. Towards the end, the aliens (yes, there are aliens involved) take on an angelic appearance once they revert to their true form (a type of wing can be seen), and it can also be interpretted that the aliens act as the voice of God (a higher power is speaking to the chosen). On top of that, they create a type of "Noah's Ark" to save the human race from total destruction (Armageddon).

And then, of course, if there is a God and if He created the entire universe, it would stand to reason He created the aliens. So, thinking back to Dogma, we remember that hearing God would kill us puny mortals, and therefore an intermediary would be needed to speak on God's behalf. Thus, the aliens bring a message from God to save humanity just before the End. Like I said, religious symbolism.

The film has its flaws, but it was entertaining, and it walks a line similar to the one The Exorcism of Emily Rose did--it gives the audience, who is divided by their beliefs of spirituality and science (or however you want to say it), a scenario, and then allows them to draw their own conclusions, find out what it means to them. Some see a freak natural occurance and aliens, others see God's wrath and the angels He has sent to save the chosen few. Two sides of the same coin? You decide.

I may be agnostic, but I can definitely appreciate a film that is put together in such a way as to not choose one side over another, but instead to work towards uniting--or at least accepting--both sides. Just because I'm not religious doesn't mean I abhor all things religious.

Anywho, Knowing is well crafted and entertaining. Definitely worth a watch.

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