Thriller can’t predict its own disaster

Nicolas  Cage is at it again. “Knowing,” a thriller directed by Alex Proyas who also directed “I, Robot,” is really a tale of two films.

Part one is an exciting and drama-filled thriller about a piece of paper that seems to predict disasters, natural or otherwise, and how many people that disaster will kill.

This beginning part is truly interesting, and not as annoying as standard Cage fare.

Typically Cage is a disinterested action hero whose boring tone and sarcastic sense of humor makes it hard for a moviegoer to identify with or relate to.

Now Cage takes a leap forward and plays a slightly less disinterested professor.

Cage plays professor John Koestler, whose son stumbles across a sheet of paper with seemingly random numbers scribbled all over it.

Koestler makes it his mission to understand and decode the cryptic paper, before all the disasters occur.

Of course, Koestler finds it difficult to convince the world of the paper’s validity. 

Even though he makes attempts to stop the disasters before they occur, they all end in failure. 

Towards the end, “Knowing” takes on a “War of the Worlds” or “The Day the Earth Stood Still” mentality, raising questions about the impact of humanity on a planet that was tailor-made for humans to succeed.

Although these questions are interesting, they aren’t what drive the movie forward, which is a shame.  “The Day the Earth Stood Still” suffered from a similar problem, focusing on characters that weren’t interesting enough to drive what could have been a great story forward.

Koestler’s desperate scramble to unravel the mysteries of the paper, and what the paper itself implies are what make the movie intriguing. If a slip of paper, written originally by a child can predict everything, what on earth is the point in free will? Does free will exist?

Unfortunately, in the context of the movie, the answer is a giant “who cares?” On to part two of “Knowing.”

First of all, no matter whom he’s playing, Nicolas Cage is boring. He makes assassins and psychics and even flaming-skull motorcycle-riding vigilantes seem like grandmothers.

Even with a premise as interesting as “Knowing,” Cage’s performance leaves the audience bored.

Second, “Knowing” is a great idea, which should have been pulled off with some over the top, stellar graphics.

Granted, some special effects can arouse shock and awe, but most come off as dry, bland and run of the mill.

Finally, this movie has one of the most horrendous endings in recent history.

A truly memorable ending is agreeable with all audiences.

If it’s a cliffhanger, it leaves the group salivating for the sequel.

If it’s a true ending, it ties together all plot points, and only raises one or two questions for discussions around the water cooler.

What an ending is never permitted to do is just leave an audience hanging, raising a million questions about aliens, planets with their own versions of Christianity, and how a couple of 12 year olds can be responsible for the human race.

“Knowing” is not a horrible movie. It’s just a movie that could have been done much better.

Certain moments during the film make a case for a five star film, but right after those cases are brought up, the movie shoots itself in the foot with a bazooka.