We received a postcard in the mail from DirecTV last week, as a customer loyalty reward, giving us three automatically credited pay per view movies up to 5.99 each. So last Friday evening, we took the opportunity to rent Knowing, which was released on March 20th of this year. We watched part of it Friday night, but completed watching it Saturday afternoon.
Knowing could best be described as a mystery, with a little bit of sci-fi - or perhaps vice-versa. Directed by Alex Proyas (I, Robot perhpas most known of his prior directing credits), the film is set primarily in Lexington, Massachusetts. It opens in 1959, at William Dawes Elementary School, named after a fellow Paul Revere rider. As part of the dedication of the new school, Miss Taylor's class is tasked with drawing what they think the future might look like in 50 years. All of the kids draw normal pictures, save one. Lucinda instead writes a series of numbers, and is still writing when time is called. Each of the kids' drawings are placed in a time-capsule intended to be opened in 50 years. Lucinda hears voices, unexplained, and disappears right after the ceremony.
Jump forward to 2009, where Nicholas Cage as John Koestler, a professor of Astrophysics at MIT, and his son Caleb, a student at William Dawes, receive the item from the time-capsule made by Lucinda. Koestler begins to figure out the numbers are not random, that they are dates and numbers of dead, and that the series of numbers is a complete record of major disasters since 1959. At first he is puzzled by other numbers that are on the sheet, but he shares the numbers with a colleague, Phil Beckman. Beckman is skeptical until the numbers for the next future date come true, with Koestler present when a plane crash happens the next day, and the dead count matches the sheet. All the while, Caleb has been hearing voices, to which John is unaware. Neither shares the details with the other.
Koestler seeks out Lucinda, by a meeting with the aged Miss Taylor, but discovers she had passed away several years ago. He seeks out her daughter, Diana, trying to learn more about the girl who wrote down the numbers. When he mentions Lucinda, it drives Diana and Abby to run off. After the 2nd predicted event comes true, Koestler returns home to find them on his doorstep. They learn that Abby hears the same voices that Caleb does, and they team up to figure out more about the voices, and Lucinda's numbers.
It is somewhere in here that John realizes that the last missing numbers aren't numbers at all, but are backwards EE, meaning everyone else. It is at this point when he makes the connection to solar flare activity, and the impending nature of a potential armageddon caused by solar flares. Welcome as Deep Impact meets Sixth Sense. The film becomes a chase to the end. Overall, Knowing is worth the effort, and it is good role for Nicholas Cage to break away from his normal type role.