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If Only For The Special Effects.
on 10 July 2009
A troubled young girl in 1959 is asked along with her fellow elementary school students to contribute something to the school's `time capsule'. She scribbles a series of random and perfectly spaced numbers furiously until the teacher snatches it from her hands. Then, of course, she freaks out. Fifty years later, there is a ceremony where the children's contributions are randomly handed out to the modern young students. The paper with the random numbers ends up in the hands of little Caleb (Chandler Canterbury), whose father is widower John Koestler (Nicholas Cage), an astrophysicist teacher at Boston's M.I.T. There he believes all of life is random and there is no heaven, but teaches his son otherwise. Add a house in psychical disarray and you have the start of a movie you've seen before.
By accident, Koestler (Cage, not very smart looking to be a M.I.T. professor) discovers the date of 9/11/2001 and the number of people who died in the paper of numbers. Then in a drunken frenzied evening, he finds more disasters and similarities evenly spaced out in the puzzle of numebrs. He places these on a large piece of white board. Very pretty. I guess a professor of his intelligence could figure this out over one night while drunk. However, there are still gaps with mysterious numbers. Koestler shares this info with a comrade who thinks he's nuts, but then begins to believe him after it's discovered that the odd numbers are actually the longitude and latitude of the deadly events that have and will occur.
At this point, the audience is wondering when the action will start. I have to admit that once the disasters start occurring, it's mayhem that is so well filmed (CGI well done) and executed, the look, sound and feel is very real. Koestler witnesses a plane crash with an aftermath of hell that is just about the best filming of a crashing plane ever done. Then Koestler figures that a terrorist's attack will occur in a New York City subway. With some twists and running action, including the police trying to catch a wild man named Koestler. The subway disaster is even more realistic than the place crash, with cars flying down tunnels, through walls and making you swear you'll never ride the subway again. Of course, Koestler survives somehow (he is the star).
Add into this mix four strange mute adults that are `whispering' to the children and trying to get close to Koestler's son as well as the young grand-daughter of the troubled young girl from 1959 who scribbled all those numbers down. It gets weirder. By this time, you're just about worn out, and Koestler realizes with his comrade that the end of the world might be around the corner. Oh, and there is an excellent speeding car scene with the heroine's car getting sideswiped by a huge semi-trailer. This is another great, heart-stopping scene.
The ending is a disappointing Spielberg-esque cliché that is only relieved with a final set of special effects that rival "Armageddon" and "The Day After Tomorrow". After you regain your breath, you're treated to a final saccharin scene that is like something out of "Alice in Wonderland".
"Knowing" is a series of old clichés and middle-of-the-road acting, but the special effects are right up there with the best. Does that make buying this DVD a necessity? I think not, but viewing can be a heart-racing experience, especially with a good home theater system. Turn up the volume!