Knowing Review

Knowing is a disaster movie that wants to become the meaning of life. That’s stupid.

Knowing sets things up with a standard explanation: Everything happens for a reason. It is an acceptable premise, even backed by some mild science. The story of John Koestler (Nicolas Cage) follows after he is given a piece of numbered paper left in a time capsule 50 years ago. Those numbers point to every major disaster in the world, with more on the way.

For a while, Knowing is exciting. As Koestler runs around trying to find the source of the next disaster, audiences are treated to two jaw dropping accidents. One, a plane crash, is beautifully shot in a single edit, a perfect pairing of visual effects, stunt work, and choreography. A subway disaster at the mid-point is equally impressive, using an array of interesting camera angles to capture a horrific moment in time.

Director Alex Proyas is more than capable of handling meaningful material, helming the cult classic Dark City in 1998. Knowing is not a film that needs some deeper reflection into humanity, which what the ending provides. Here, in fact, it becomes a disaster on par with the train wreck earlier in the film.

The ending of Knowing comes from the realm of cinematic stupidity. To gauge how far off it is, imagine if King Kong began shooting lasers out of his eyes at the bi-planes attacking him on top of the Empire State Building. Or, what if aliens came to invade Earth but died when touched by water? Oh, the latter happened. Sorry. That’s the level of sheer idiocy on display here.

Knowing tries to brace the audience for the blow straight out of left field coming their way, inserting creepy men dressed all in black throughout the film and inserting foreshadowing dialogue. This builds a mystery, and if it had ended with say, some doomsday group who discovered a way to survive the coming apocalypse (or just had a mental ability to predict it), maybe it could have been plausible. Instead, at the last minute, it introduces additional questions, confusion, and introduces countless plot holes.

At least the chance of a sequel is completely wiped off the map… and so is the map.

Movie ★★☆☆☆ 

knowing

Knowing comes to Blu-ray from Summit Entertainment in a solid, albeit flawed AVC encode. Detail, contrast, and blacks are immediately striking. The texture of the actor’s faces and clothing is spectacular. Sharpness is flawless.

Unfortunately, Knowing isn’t stable. It struggles to maintain itself in long shots, turning trees into a muddy, compressed mess. Darker scenes lose their textured detail, and light edging is noticeable during a classroom scene as Cage teaches. Contrast tends to run hot, at times for obvious effect, and other times not.

It is important to note these are sporadic issues, certainly nothing that drop this into the realm of mediocre transfers. The wonderful depth, accurate flesh tones, and gorgeous color saturation are enough to keep this presentation strong.

Video ★★★★☆ 

A powerful DTS-HD Master mix is a little too strong. Action scenes are far too loud, and keeping your receiver at your usual volume to hear dialogue will result in a jolt when the action begins. It has been artificially pumped up, and the difference is far too drastic to ignore.

Beyond that, the audio mix is spectacular. Assuming the volume is right, you’ll be treated to some excellent sound work. The plane crash shatters parts all through the sound field, and the sheer panic of the subway crash is captured in all channels. Bass is powerful, deep, and noteworthy. Ambiance is nicely handled during city scenes, and in multiple rain sequences.

Audio ★★★★☆ 

Knowing managed to make a profit during its theatrical run, but the extras indicate otherwise. Director Alex Proyas provides a solo commentary, Knowing All is a general making of, and Visions of the Apocalypse looks at doomsday theories. BD-Live support takes you to a generic splash page. That’s it.

Extras ★★☆☆☆ 

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