Apr 042018
 

Knowing did very much remind me of an M. Night Shyamalan movie (both times viewing now) but unlike some of his later works beyond The Sixth Sense, I think Alex Proyas did convey a level of authentic emotion that really worked.

 

 

Knowing
(2009)

Genre(s): Science Fiction, Drama
Lionsgate | PG13 – 121 min. – $22.99 | April 10, 2018

Date Published: 04/04/2018 | Author: The Movieman


MOVIE INFO:
Directed by: Alex Proyas
Writer(s): Ryne Douglas Pearson (story), Ryne Douglas Pearson and Juliet Snowden & Stiles White (screenplay)
Cast: Nicolas Cage, Rose Byrne, Chandler Canterbury, Ben Mendelsohn, Lara Robinson
DISC INFO:
Features: Audio Commentary, Featurettes
Digital Copy: Yes
Formats Included: 4K, Blu-ray
Number of Discs: 2
Audio: English (Dolby Atmos), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Video: 2160p/Widescreen 2.35
Dynamic Range: HDR10, Dolby Vision
Subtitles: English SDH, English, Spanish
Codecs: HEVC / H.265
Region(s): A, B, C

 


THE MOVIE — 4.5/5


Note: This portion was copied over from my 2009 Blu-ray review. For the most part, my opinions have no changed.

Plot: John Koestler (NICOLAS CAGE) is an M.I.T. professor who deciphers a coded message with terrifyingly accurate predictions about every major world disaster. Looking to protect his son Caleb (CHANDLER CANTERBURY) and prevent future calamities, he enlists the reluctant help of Diana Wayland (ROSE BYRNE), daughter of the now-deceased author of the prophesies, who herself has a daughter (LARA ROBINSON)) being affected. His quest to understand the messages and his own family’s involvement in them becomes a race against time as he faces the ultimate disaster.

Knowing was a pleasant surprise. The film goes beyond being a mere end of the world drama and instead involves a semi-complex story with an emotional core. And shiny black rocks.

First, this is easily Nic Cage’s best performance since Leaving Las Vegas (take that for what you will) and it’s heartfelt without going overboard. He plays the widowed father quite well and opposite a talented child actor who, for once, doesn’t get on my nerves; I get annoyed with children in movies who act much older than they are, and this one is no exception, but it worked within the story. In any case, Cage gives a great performance that almost makes you forget about some of his early 21st century stinkers (see: The Wicker Man)… almost.

The supporting cast is fine lead by the lovely Rose Byrne in a small but significant role as the single mother of a precocious daughter. It’s unfortunate that Byrne didn’t get more to do with a limited role because she is a talented young actress on the rise. I first noticed her in the Josh Hartnett/Diane Kruger romantic-drama, Wicker Park and then FX’s Damages, so it’s nice to see her get more work.

I don’t want to give away the secret or “twist” of the movie but if you didn’t see who directed it, you would swear M. Night Shyamalan was behind it (you will get a heavy sense of Signs) but unlike Shyamalan, director Alex Proyas knows how to tell a compelling story. Of course, Proyas is no stranger to the modern “Twilight Zone”-esque storytelling especially the amazing Dark City and while this doesn’t quite reach that level of creativity, Knowing certainly is a distinguishing project in his still young career. Although I wasn’t a big fan of I, Robot, I thought it had some interesting elements of the future but despite the topic of technology and life, it never propelled much in the way of discussion afterwards, but no matter which side you fall on for Knowing it should open up communication with friends and family.

And that’s one of my key criteria when rating a movie: does it entice discussions or even inner perspective when the credits role. For me, Knowing did just that. I know many didn’t like the final couple minutes which, while it did feel tact on and the film could’ve – maybe should’ve – ended before that scene, but I didn’t have a problem with it and it never detracted from my overall satisfaction.

The film is the brainchild of Ryne Douglas Pearson (author of Mercury Rising) with screenplay work by Pearson, Juilet Snowden and Stiles White (Boogeyman?!?!? and the Poltergeist remake).

Knowing, it seems, splits audiences on their enjoyment level and perhaps where their philosophies lie. For me, I loved it. This is a great and utterly chilling thriller with excellent action sequences (only three of them, but they carry the story), visual effects and a performance from Cage that reminded me what he can do given the right script.

 

SPECIAL FEATURES – 2.75/5


This release comes with a glossy slip cover. Inside is a redemption code for the Digital HD copy. All the features from the Blu-ray were ported over and available on the 4K disc.

Feature Commentary – Producer/Director Alex Proyas sits down for an interesting commentary, he’s prompted by a (presumably) DVD producer asking questions about the project. I wish someone like Nic Cage was in there as well but Proyas was interesting enough of a guy to carry it until the end.

Knowing All: The Making of a Futuristic Thriller (12:36; HD) is a pretty ordinary ‘making-of’ featurette going through how the concept came to be (started eight years ago) to casting and introducing each actor with comments from the cast and crew about the project. It also covers shooting the major airplane crash sequence which was difficult to get done because of the weather. Interestingly Nic Cage is absent from the featurette.

Visions of the Apocalypse (17:15; HD) is about the idea of the end of the world featuring interviews with philosophers, psychologists and authors on the subject of the apocalypse and the end of life.

5 Things Worth Knowing About Knowing (2:00; HD) – Basically a trivia featurette pointing out things like the film was made in Australia and it Luke Hemsworth had a minor part. ** 4K UHD Disc Exclusive **

 


VIDEO – 4.5/5


Lionsgate decodes the numbers and releases Knowing upon the world, where the film is presented in its original 2.35 widescreen aspect ratio and now given a 2160p high-definition transfer (HEVC / H.265 codec) and although I can’t quite say it’s a brilliant or even reference quality UHD picture, still looks pretty darn good. Detail is sharp throughout and the colors, both in day and night, do have excellent pop to them, courtesy of a boost from the HDR10 dynamic range, such as the orange-red of fireballs, the grays on the subway train or natural looking skin tones.

AUDIO – 5.0/5


As if the original DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track wasn’t enough, this 4K disc gets a modest upgrade to Dolby Atmos and still sounds absolutely incredible. Not only are the quieter moments relatively clear including the dialogue levels from the center speaker, but the various action sequences, beginning with the plane crash, just envelops the room and the LFE channel kicks on for some amazing extra measure. Beyond those scenes, Marco Beltrami’s haunting score comes through amazingly well.

 


OVERALL – 4.5/5


Overall, Knowing did very much remind me of an M. Night Shyamalan movie (both times viewing now) but unlike some of his later works beyond The Sixth Sense, I think Alex Proyas did convey a level of authentic emotion that really worked even when the story, or black rocks I should say, might not make a whole lot of sense. This 4K UHD release from Lionsgate does offer up great video and fantastic audio transfers and a so-so array of bonus material.

 

 

 

 

Check out some more 1080p screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.

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