"Knowing" Movie Review Summary: Story of a Father In Pain That Doesn't Believe That A God Exists
4 1/2 Stars
I enjoyed this one a lot, and I must say that Nicolas Cage is on my top 10 actors list. The movie opens in 1959, Lexington, Massachusetts. I am native to Massachusetts, so I found this to be "familiar".
Lucinda Embry is an elementary student and is quite strange at first appearance. All of the students in her class are asked to come up with a great idea to officially recognize, or "kick-off", the first year of this new school. Her idea, a time capsule, was the winner of the contest. All the students are asked to draw a picture of the future; what it will be like 50 years from now.
When the time is up, the teacher collects all the papers, and when she does, she gently scolds Lucinda because her "drawing" is a seemingly useless set of numbers; a code of sorts. Lucinda is reported missing and after an intensive search, she is found in a closet under the gym.
Then the movie jumps to the future, present day. The opening scene (in the present day) is John Koestler (Nicolas Cage) talking with his son, Caleb (Chandler Canterbury) about the death of his mother. Caleb asks if heaven exist and as John is a scientist, he tells Caleb to believe whatever he wants. It's obvious that John, a Professor at MIT, leans toward the Atheist side of the eternal argument.
As a professor, John raises the question of Order, Purpose, and Determination vs. Random Coincidence, Chemical Accidents, and Biological Mutations which would suggest no purpose or no Grand Meaning to life. At one point, one of his students asks him, "What do you believe, professor?" His response: "I think shit just happens."
Caleb happens to be in the class that is commissioned to open the 50 year old time capsule. It couldn't have played out any other way; Caleb is given Lucinda's envelope. Although he is supposed to leave it in school, Caleb brings the letter home and his dad takes notice. I should mention that Caleb is partially deaf, and his hearing aid begins to act up after he opens the envelope.
There's a sad scene when Caleb is watching a video of his mother singing him to sleep. The camera angle is significant because it captures the past as John is videotaping from the threshold of the door. He actually re-lives that moment when he enters the room from the same angle, watching his son listen to his mother's voice.
John finds the paper with the numbers on it and decides to "play" with the numbers. He copies them to a grease board and then enters them into his computer. What he notices is that the numbers outline a bunch of disasters over the last 50 years and the number of victims that were involved in each accident. Of course, when he brings this to the attention of a respected colleague, he shrugs it off as a coincidence.
Now according to my "enlightened" view as a critic, I see relevance and similarity of that of the works: "The Matrix", "Da Vinci Code", and possibly, an Algorithm . Any relation to "String Theory"?
John visits the old teacher and asks her about Lucinda. There he finds that Lucinda has been dead for some time, but she left behind an adult daughter, whom also has a child. Caleb begins to hear voices and at first, he thinks it is his hearing aid. He is given a black rock by one of the "Men In Black", who show up more often in the movie.
John is distant from his family. The dividing valuable is that his father is a religious man, a Pastor, and since John is a scientist, he leans toward the Atheist point of view of our existence. John's sister, who is Christian, appears often but he is very distant from her, too. John is a borderline alcoholic, which I am sure was onset from his wife's untimely death. John is often late or totally misses school appointments for Caleb.
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As he studies the code, John realizes that the circled numbers are predictions of the dates of mass catastrophes and the number of victims of each catastrophe. There are a lot of numbers next to these predictions and he later realizes that they are the coordinates of each prophesied event. The validity of the codes proves true when John tells his friend that tomorrow, 81 people will die. Sure enough, a plane crashes while John is stopped at a construction detour on the highway. There are 81 people recorded dead. No more coincidence!
John tells his son, "No more questions, Caleb!" Caleb replies, "I can ask questions when you tell me things to do that do not make sense...I'm not a kid anymore!" John begins to think that all the codes are related and meant for him to find: "These numbers are warnings meant for me." When he re-approaches his colleague, his friend tells him that: "Right now, my scientific mind is telling me to have nothing to do with this...and yours should too."
Caleb gets another "dark" visitor during the night, and several other visits after that. He hears whispering and the man points to him, Caleb follows him. He receives a vision of great fire, even a moose is susceptible to the death to come.
As part of John's research, he finds that Lucinda was married to a man with the last name of Wayland. He all but "stalks" Dianna, Lucinda's daughter, as he has Caleb approach her daughter in the museum. At first, Dianna thinks John is crazy but he is able to convince her of the validity of his claims.
At one point, John figures out the upcoming disaster and anonymously calls the FBI to report that: "People will die!" John, finally convinced that there is more than just "now", begins to question his faith.
In regard to the date at the end of the unfinished code, Dianna remarks: "My mother used to talk about that date...she said that that was the date I was gonna die." We then see how John's wife died; she was on a business trip to Phoenix, "a few days before my birthday...there was a fire that started in her hotel."
The investigators assured him that she died from smoke inhalation during her sleep; that she didn't even know. One thing that bothers John is that he mentions that when someone you love dies, you can feel it. John was raking up leaves in the yard at the exact time of her death; he didn't feel anything, and he felt that if he did, or if he had the code, he could have saved her.
Dianna sheds light on her mother's death: "I was 9 when she overdosed. The only time I ever came out here (to her mother's mobile home in the woods) was with my father, when he identified her body."
There's more sitings of the "Men In Black" as well as more black rocks being found. More voices, hearing aid problems, and the fact that Dianna's mother moved to the mobile home to "Get ready". Inside the mobile home there are news clippings of the disasters all over the walls, as well as a "Holy Bible". John begins to realize that Lucinda may have been a prophet and he and his son are related to the outcome of the coming events. Upon further examination, John finds writing under Lucinda's bed; "Everyone Else", over and over again, as he flips the bed into an upright, upside down position.
Caleb has more interaction with the dark men and notes that "They were here...talking to us, all talking at once." Caleb and (Dianna's daughter) call these visitors the "Whisper People". There are several drawings found throughout the movie of the sun with God sitting above it. John begins to realize that this is not just a warning for him, but for the entire human race. He goes to his dad's house to reveal: "I have a Prophecy." Caleb begins to write numbers, much in the way of Lucinda, as if he was possessed.
John checks the inscription on the closet door that Lucinda wrote, and after scrapping off layers of paint, he gets the end of the code; coordinates that lead to Lucinda's mobile home. Unexpectedly, Dianna dies in a car accident while trying to flee to a cave for safety against the "end times." Not ironically, she is found dead with a black rock in her hand. By this time, the two little kids are "kidnapped" by the "Men in Black", it was because of this that Dianna was hit by a truck spreading to find the abducted children.
John shows up at the site of Lucinda's mobile home, and this time, the ground is littered with black rocks. The "Men In Black" are revealed to be protecting Caleb and ultimately, mankind. Awesome graphics create some kind of "Space Orb", and upon seeing the light and power, John drops to his knees; completely humble. John then realizes that all these prophecies are leading to the end of Earth's existence.
The "Men In Black" appear to be the four Angels from a bible prophecy (comment anyone?) and as John lets Caleb and the girl go with them, they change into translucent figures and enter the Orb with the two children. John goes home to his estranged father and family, to die with them, making amends with both his family and God.
The Earth is destroyed by a Super Sun Flare, and everything is annihilated. I can only assume that the reason for saving only the two, innocent, young children is for God to start over with a "New Adam and Eve."
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