Now on DVD: "Knowing" Balances Hope and Annihilation
DVD Release Date: July 7, 2009
Theatrical Release Date: March 20, 2009
DISTRIBUTED BY Summit Entertainment
DIRECTED BY Alex Proyas (I, Robot)
STARRING Nicolas Cage as John Koestler; Chandler Canterbury as Caleb Koestler; Rose Byrne as Diana Wayland; Lara Robinson as Lucinda Embry and Abby Wayland
If ever there was a time when most of us should feel like rending our garments and gnashing our teeth, now might be it.
The economy's tanked. Coffee costs $4. We're overworked and underemployed. Our 401(k) accounts are shot. Al Gore keeps talking about the polar ice caps. Our kids are sick. Our toasters are broken. Our spouses keep drinking milk straight from the carton, no matter how many times we've told them not to. Our favorite franchise quarterbacks are feuding with their teams.
Yes, we as a nation are in collective need of some comfort food—meatloaf and mashed potatoes, maybe. We need something to help us forget our trials and travails ... a nice hunk of cinematic escapism, perhaps. We need something that will remind us that, in the words of Scarlett O'Hara, "Tomorrow is another day."
And what do we get instead? Knowing—a movie that tells us "tomorrow" might be the end of the world.
But I get ahead of myself. The story opens in the sweet-and-innocent 1950s, when all we had to fret over were Russians and nuclear war and whether we really needed to see Elvis shake his pelvis on national TV. The children—at least the children at William Dawes Elementary School—are full of optimism and hope: When their teacher asks them to draw pictures of what they think the world will look like in 50 years—pictures to place in a time capsule—they draw rockets and flying cars and iPods.
Well, except for one little girl named Lucinda, who instead covers her paper with lines and lines of numbers. So absorbed is she that she doesn't even get to finish writing before the teacher whisks her paper away.
Fast-forward 50 years, and a new generation of William Dawes students opens the capsule to marvel at these bright pictures of the future. Well, except for the kid who sees Lucinda's numbers.
The kid—Caleb's his name—brings home the paper and obliquely suggests that it might be a code of some sort. John, Caleb's father and a professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, decides (after a few whiskeys) that Caleb could be right. In fact, many of the numbers seem to correspond with the dates of every major tragedy in the last 50 years, along with the number of those killed. 9/11? It's on there. Tsunamis in southeast Asia? Check. Oklahoma City bombing? Check.
John sees that there are just three dates left on the sheet—and all of them are set to take place over the next few days. Which leaves John to ask himself some pretty hard questions:
Does this mean that our lives are guided?
That our fates are predetermined?
Can we change our future?
Am I going crazy?
Could this sheet of paper represent an even more ominous future than a few plane crashes?
[Note: The following sections include spoilers.]