The Boat That Rocked

A film of two halves: one spent waiting to laugh, the other not laughing.

Monsters vs Aliens

Monsters! Aliens! Monsters! Awesome.

A Monster Smash

The ultimate showdown of ultimate destiny? You bet it is!


It's a load of old hooey, but Knowing carries its concept with conviction; gripping and portentous, it's a baptism by fire for dubious cinemagoers.

I'm Brian and So's Me Wife!

Michael Sheen - Britain's most prolific fraudster. Is your identity safe?

The Damned United

Another character-driven masterpiece from Morgan and Michael. Damned good.


A fun, romantic, old-school caper. They caper here, they caper there. Sometimes, they caper so much their clothes fall off.

Lesbian Vampire Killers

Comedy sound effects and a sword shaped like a thingy? This is a textbook example of polishing a turd.

Marley and Me

Marley and Me's saccharine story is low on laughs and high on sugar. Bring a vat of tissues. And some insulin.


Zack "the visionary director of 300" Snyder's epic achievement is an awe-inspiring spectacle...

The Young Victoria

Glossy and gorgeous, Britain's longest-serving monarch makes for a winning romance. God save the Queen. And all that.

Gran Torino

Eastwood's star performance rescues this cliched script: forget Dirty Harry, this is racist Clint. And he's milking it for every last drop.


An energetic debut from a British director, Hush is a thrilling tale of cars, girls and posters that go up in toilets. Gripping stuff.


Cute and lively, but lacking Pixar's spark: this is The Truman Show for the High School Musical generation.


Which vampire would you want living next door?

Login Form

Spread the Word

Home Reviews Cinema Knowing
Knowing Print E-mail
Written by Ivan Radford   
Wednesday, 25 March 2009 11:00
Director: Alex Proyas
Cast: Nicholas Cage, Rose Byrne, Chandler Canterbury
Certificate: 15

“How am I supposed to stop the end of the world?” A man stands in a room alone, pondering the workings of the universe. As he watches fate’s clockwork ticking away, his eyes grow wide. Angsty palpitations dance across his skull and a look of fear fills his face. Fear. And pain. The classic Nicholas Cage.

On textbook form, The Cage plays John Koestler, a rationalising astrophysicist whose beliefs are plunged into a deterministic hell: what if a sheet of numbers (written 50 years ago by a small schoolgirl) can predict the world’s worst disasters? And, more importantly, what happens when the numbers run out?

A brief word on this: numerology? Time capsules? A semi-deaf son (Canterbury) who can hear voices? It’s all balderdash of the highest quality. But where Kabballah and Dan Brown choked on their own claptrap, Knowing pulls off its countdown conundrum with some conviction. It’s certainly no Pi, but helmer Alex Proyas does a decent M. Night Shyamalan impression at the very least.

The other performers range from equine (Cage) to excessive, with Rose Byrne’s single mother, Diana, joining the Family Man’s Face Off before the world has Gone in Sixty Seconds. Her contribution to the campaign? “We’ve got the save the children!” A key piece of characterisation, for sure.

More disturbing still, are the shadowy Goths who stalk John and Diana wherever they go. Pale, eerie and mostly mute, they turn up, deposit a present and leave. What are the shiny black rocks they give to the children? Are they alien droppings? The bread of heaven? The answer is obvious from the outset, but the Dark City director has the courage to see it through to the end; a straight-faced determination that somehow keeps this load of hooey from going under.

On the way, there are some spectacularly rendered set pieces – there’s an obsession with CGI flames and an apparent fetish for filming mass casualties, but the tension is maintained for most of the runtime. They even get away with The Cage walking straight into a plane crash unscathed.

The ending is hokum, of course. We already knew that. An unnecessary epilogue hammers it home. But with its ominous soundtrack and celestial concerns, this derivative drivel (a sort of Signs meets The Number 23) makes for a rather gripping supernatural thriller; a baptism by fire for the more dubious cinemagoers. The less said about the flaming moose, the better.


Surprisingly suspenseful. Having Proyas at the helm saves this portentous piece from potential disaster. For once, Knowing almost is all its cracked up to be.

Comments (2)
1 Sunday, 29 March 2009 12:16
Follow the lemur
Are they Richard O'Brian goths?
2 Sunday, 29 March 2009 12:23
Follow the lemur
Also - Rose Byrne - typecast much?

Add your comment

Your name:
Your website:
  The word for verification. Lowercase letters only with no spaces.
Word verification: