The StoryIt's 1959 and a classroom full of elementary school students is busy drawing pictures to insert into a time capsule to be buried in the school's courtyard. The students draw pretty pictures of robots and rocket ships and other items representing what they believe the world will look like in 50 years when the capsule's opened. But there's one student, Lucinda Embry (Lara Robinson), whose drawing is unlike the others. Lucinda's hearing voices and those voices are telling her to write down numbers that, on the surface, look to be totally random.
When the time capsule is opened at a special ceremony, each member of Caleb's elementary school class is handed an envelope containing one of the drawings done 50 years prior. Caleb receives Lucinda's paper, which he finds fascinating enough to take home instead of leaving it at the school as instructed.
John, who has a bit of a drinking problem, downs some booze and strangely enough, that helps clear up the meaning of the Lucinda's numbers. John becomes obsessed with the idea that the paper actually lists major incidents in which people have died over the past 50 years (including 9/11). And, of course, there are three catastrophes on the paper that haven't yet occurred and John believes he can stop them from happening. To do this he tracks down the now deceased Lucinda's daughter, Diana (Rose Byrne), and granddaughter, Abby (Robinson, again). As they attempt to put the final pieces of the puzzle together, strange men watch their houses and whisper bizarre things into Abby and Caleb's ears.
The CastThe kid actors – Robinson and Canterbury – aren't annoyingly precocious and are fine young performers. And Rose Byrne does a decent damsel in distress to Cage's 'I'll protect my son at all costs' action guy. Byrne adds a lot emotionally to the story, an important element as Cage, despite the fact he apparently loves his son, comes across as mildly detached.
The Bottom LineAre we just going through the motions as our fate is already determined, no matter how desperately we want to change our future? Knowing does address that question but with a very unsatisfying resolution. It tosses out half a dozen red herrings along the way, two or three of which would have been much more intriguing to follow than the ultimate conclusion to the film.
Knowing's a film that never seems to figure out what it wants to be, but it goes here, there and everywhere in one big hurry. Riddled with problems, Knowing isn't likely to impress anyone but the most ardent Nicolas Cage fans. But even those may be hard-pressed to endure the ending without letting out a laugh or two.
Knowing was directed by Alex Proyas and is rated PG-13 for disaster sequences, disturbing images and brief strong language.
Theatrical Release Date: March 20, 2009