Knowing is the perhaps the most interesting film I’ve seen recently and it’s also happens to be the worst. I knew it was bad but I had been interested enough in the idea to make the effort to watch it. The film is a mess in just about every way, it has too many ideas and many of them don’t work. I’ve still never seen The Crow or Dark City but know they are generally regarded in a good light and have a cult following so you’d hope that director Alex Proyas would be able to do something with it all to make it work but he doesn’t (I actually thought he’d written it as well so perhaps unfair to expect him to make it better).
So why is Knowing an interesting thing? Well for one thing it stars the enigma that is Nicolas Cage. Nicolas Cage is a complete mystery to me and therefore anything he is involved with becomes interesting. He’s an amazing actor (Leaving Las Vegas) and terrible (here in Knowing and elsewhere) and sometime both (Bad Lieutenant). I don’t have any issues with him taking roles to pay the bills and maybe not trying as hard but I do wonder how he can jump from so good to so bad. In fact, watching Knowing I started to wonder if he thought he was making a spoof movie and playing a bad actor or if for the drunk scenes (and perhaps more) he was just very drunk. Probably spurred on by a vague recollection of Adaptation I started imagining another Kaufman/Jonze film where Nicolas Cage plays himself and hires a Nicolas Cage impersonator (also played by Cage) to star in some of his films because he hasn’t got time to make them all. Interesting, see.
The film also jumps around many different genres eventually building up to a reveal (SPOILERS….) to an end of the world story. Because I was watching the film from television I’d forgotten about the poster and cover art but I checked to see and sure enough this imagery from the final scenes of the film are used for the promotion which perhaps isn’t a big a spoiler as The Planet Of The Apes cover but a very strange decision.
Towards the end of the film I couldn’t help but think of Melancholia and wondered if this story could be saved by a different director and writer. What would Lars Von Trier have done with this script. If more of the film was better then some of the smaller problems and plot holes wouldn’t seem so obvious.
Ultimately it’s a bad film which ends up not really making any sense but there are so many ideas flying around you can’t help but wonder if a much better version of the film can be made. There are so few new ideas in Hollywood so instead of remaking good (international) films why not try and remake bad films instead.