"Knowing" - movie rated '100' AND '0'

I notice something interesting when I looked up reviews for the new Nicholas Cage vehicle “Knowing”: On Metacritic they show Roger Ebert’s positive rating (100!) as well the New York Daily News reviewer’s negative (0!) rating. Quite the range, I thought and thought I’d share this with y’all and throw open for comment.

But Roger’s review is the only one in the green zone. The next most laudatory review is a 60, and the total average for the film is a 41. I feel bad about what happened to Ebert, but I think it’s probably time to hang up the spurs (or maybe simply civil union himself with Alex Proyas, since Dark City is one of Ebert’s absolute favorites as well).

And at RT, the film is at an abysmal 20 (with the Top Crix coming in at 25 thanks to RE)

Here is Roger’s review, where he calls it one of the best science fiction films he’s ever seen.


I usually rethink my opinion on a movie if I see Ebert give it a good review. I had no intention of seeing this based on the crappy trailer, but I think I’ll have to watch it now.
Also, I didn’t know Alex Proyas directed Knowing. I absolutely love Dark City.

Roger Ebert has committed himself to Proyas’s greatness as a director. He’d volunteer to play the Chloe Sevigny part if Proyas remade The Brown Bunny.

Proyas is a moderately talented stylist, no more. Don’t trust Ebert on a Proyas movie.

He didn’t let Proyas off the hook for I, Robot.

I saw it this evening and I enjoyed it immensely. It seems kinda obvious, being an ‘end of the world’ movie, but it’s not a happy movie in the least.

Anyone else see it and would like to discuss?

Sorry, I blanked that one out.

Still, I find that I want to discount Ebert’s 4 stars for an Alex Proyas film because of how outrageously he overrates* Dark City*. Don’t get me wrong: Dark City is a good movie, one I have recommended more than once. But Ebert is constantly embarrassing himself over that movie. I’m gonna take his “Alex Proyas is a fucking god” reviews with a grain of salt until I see the movie.

I saw it tonight as well and I found myself conflicted. I feel like I hated and loved it all at the same time. In some ways I felt that the first and second halves of the movie belong to two completely different films.

Nicolas Cage is just a disaster as an actor and he about destroys every movie he is in. So that’s a problem and the female lead was no great shakes either.

The movie was very cool looking. It had a good style and a tone that affects you as a viewer. There are parts that are fantastically ominous. The effects were generally first rate and the disaster sequences were riveting.

The first part of the movie that centered on the mystery of the numbers and the question of how and if they can be stopped was pretty intriguing. I feel like they rushed through it in order to get to the second half of the movie and the mystery wasn’t developed or drawn out as interestingly as it could have been.

The second half of the movie was much more, um, odd. In some ways it was cool and bleak, though some of the themes were a little ham-fisted overly obvious. There were enough cliches to gag a yak. My biggest issue was with how the final outcome seems to have little relevance to the numbers that set up the premise. It’s never made clear how the girl in the beginning got her knowledge and how that fits into the greater scheme we see unfold.

It’s a strange film that was very cool visually. It will make you think and there are some classic thriller-type moments during the first half of the movie. The ending will probably throw some people and make you roll your eyes if you take it too seriously or pretend its somehow profound. However if you just treat it as eye-candy it’s pretty decent.

I’ll be interested to hear what the consensus on the Dope is.

A bit of a dumb question, but this was filmed in Melbourne, Australia (like Ghost Rider before it). Was it obvious?

Not at all to me, though I’ve never been to Oz personally. The bulk of the action takes place in a CGI New York and rural areas that are pretty nondescript. Maybe some of the scenes that were at “MIT” would be familiar to a local, but everything else is trees, grass and an old country house.

Just saw it this afternoon. Had very low expectations, but was very pleasantly surprised. Extremely good actions sequences, and Cage did a decent acting job. It will be interpreted as pro-religion, but in many ways I think it leaves the question open about who it is that is omniscient…

Saw it tonight, and I, too, was pleasantly surprised. (My expectations were very low because of the Rotten Tomatoes score.)

It was a surprisingly old-fashioned movie in a lot of ways. If you’re a person who thinks that the best movies are the ones that most realistically capture life, you can definitely skip this one. Everything here is pretty stylized: the look, the acting, the script, etc. Even the score was a bit overblown, with its pounding violins and dramatic cues. This is definitely not a slice-of-life movie.

Even within that sense of stylization, Nicholas Cage’s acting was bad. Bad bad bad. I have some actor friends who’ve been telling me he’s a terrible actor for years, but I never saw it till this movie. He is probably the weakest element in the whole film.

The supporting actors aren’t great either. Cage’s son isn’t particularly memorable, and the woman and her daughter didn’t do much either.

So why did I like it? Well, the plot is at least averagely interesting. You’ve sen the first part of the movie before (the part with the numbers), but hey, it works. The second half is…different, and I appreciated that it played fair.

Basically, I was glad that they destroyed the world. It would have been so much more disappointing if they’d backed out and had Nick Cage uncover some code that could have prevented the apocalypse, or something like that. The scenes of the end of the world were really vivid and memorable, as were the scenes of the disasters earlier in the movie.

Not at all to me, either. I’m a bit surprised, actually: why go to all the trouble of filming in Australia? Most of the movie took place in homes, a school, an office, a forest… Most of those could have been shot on a backlot somewhere. Then there are some establishing shots of Boston and New York, and a couple big set pieces which I guess were mostly digital effects anyways.

Alex Proyas, the director, is Australian. Here’s a little article about it.

Aaahh. Somehow I’d thought he was from Spain.

Although speaking as someone from Lexington, Massachusetts it was completely obvious to me that it wasn’t filmed there or in New England, beyond a few establishing shots. I don’t really care about that, but I thought the worst bit was having the plane come down in a “Lexington field” with a road sign saying “2 miles to Logan.” Lexington is nowhere near Logan airport, nor is it on any of the flight paths for jets to be flying that low. I don’t mind not filming in the area but why be geographically incorrect?

Also, didn’t he pick Diana up in Wayland? There are no homes that look like that in Wayland. None. It’s even more upscale than Lexington.

Saw it last night & I have to agree with you, Omniscient.
The first half was fascinating, and then it turned into an E.T. fantasy movie. I was disappointed overall, but felt that there *could have * been a great movie in there. Still, I had discount tickets, so I s’pose I got my money’s worth.

We just got back and enjoyed it…mostly. Some questions…

[spoiler]I could have done without the religious bent. Nick Cage’s comment at the end when his dad says, “This isn’t the end” and his response was, “I know.” I interpreted it mean he now believed in life after death. My friend believes he was saying that he knew it wasn’t the end because his son was chosen to populate the new planet.

What’s up with those black stones?

Were the creatures meant to be aliens or angels? I say aliens, my friend says angels.[/spoiler]