Do you have any idea how great it is to walk into a movie that you don't have great expectations for and be completely surprised by how good it is? It does not happen often, but when it does, it is like getting punched in the face with a brick. Knowing is one of those movies. Despite having a rather terrible title and a lackluster collection of trailers, Knowing has proven to be one of the stronger entries through the first three months of 2009, not to mention a film that is capable of inspiring some deep thoughts (none of which I will be able to fully bring to the table here). Do not let the fact that Nicolas Cage is the lead sway you, he takes charge of the film, playing the skeptic in all of us and goes a long way toward reminding us why he is an Oscar winner.
I must admit that when I saw the first trailer for Knowing and glimpsed the uninspired poster (which looks like it was lifted from Spielberg's War of the Worlds) I was left decidedly flat. When you look at Nicolas Cage's recent track record, you will find such winners as Next, Bangkok Dangerous, and Ghost Rider, nothing that you could consider to be all that intelligent (although, I do enjoy a couple of them). Could he carry an intelligent science fiction film? Then you can factor in director Alex Proyas, does he still have an artistic core to him? He delivered with early films such as The Crow and Dark City (the latter was named the best film of 1998 by Roger Ebert), but his last film was a Hollywood-infected take on classic Isaac Asimov source material, I, Robot.
As Knowing unfolded before me, I was drawn deeper and deeper into the tale. This is a movie that will keep you on the edge of your seat. There is a delicious slow burn quality permeating each frame. You are only given what you need to know, and even then it is barely enough. Knowing forces you to engage, to become involved, but it does so in such a way that you may not even be aware of it at first.