(Spoilers!)One of the most unforgivable tragedies of our daily lives is how we can’t see disaster coming. We can’t see the accident, we can’t predict the plane crash. The randomness of life is a continual problem for we big-brained mammals. It’s a good thing we invented a higher power to explain it all, otherwise where would we be? The question posited by the Nic Cage sci-fi thriller, Knowing, is what you would do with the knowledge once you had it. Would you try to prevent all of the upcoming deaths? Even if you tried, could you succeed? Can your fate be determined? Or is it inalterable?Cage plays an astrophysicist whose son’s school uncovered a decades-old time capsule. In it: a drawing by a girl with a series of fervently written numbers on it. We already know the numbers exist because we saw the way it happened: creepy little girl with a calling, or an ability to hear how the future will turn out.Back in present day, Cage’s son has found the letter. He too is hearing whisperings, as the girl had. He is kind of having visions of a sort. Cage cracks the code and figures out that the numbers are deadly tragedies with death tolls, dates and coordinates. Cage figures out that one was 9/11 and one was a plane crash, one was an earthquake…he figures out that there are only a few left. And two of them he witnesses first hand and is tormented at his inability to stop them.Meanwhile, white haired men are following his son and staring at him as the whispering increases. At some point it becomes clear that “the end” is near. Soon comes the apocalypse. And with it, all life on the planet. But there is a twist. Because the story was foretold, and because unearthly beings are wandering about, there is a spiritual component and some will be “saved.” Knowing is not a very good film. The only true reward in watching it is tied up in the dazzling special effects. The planet crash, the train crash, to say nothing of the sun flair, are all gripping, heart-stopping, and truly gnarly. Those scenes, coupled with the occasionally scary moments, make Knowing not altogether disappointing.What is sort of frustrating is that the premise itself feels wrong. For instance, one of the tragedies is a plane crash where 180 people are supposed to die. After the crash, the reporter says that the preliminary number is 180. But we all know that the death tolls aren’t always so fixed. Even now, there is some mystery around how many people actually did die in the TwinTowers. The mystery around the exact number was distracting enough to make the premonitions seem unreliable.Also, it doesn’t really make all that much sense that such advanced beings would go to all the trouble of reaching these “gifted kids” in order to preserve the best part of human beings. If they could do all of that, couldn’t they have helped prevent the end of the world? It seemed so random that Nicolas Cage’s character would stumble upon the note, if everything is written and everything is foretold. Something didn’t quite add up.Nonetheless, it is decent enough escapist fare, just so long as you aren’t looking for the real deal.
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