Every so often a movie comes along that you feel if handled correctly, it can be something truly excellent and original. There seem to be signs that "Knowing" could have entered that realm, but in the end it is ultimately a movie with interesting ideas that, unfortunately, are not presented well. Without giving anything away, the uncompromising ending seems to be the foundation upon which the entire movie was built, but less attention was paid to the two hours preceding it.
"Knowing" stars Nicolas Cage as John Koestler, an astrophysicist at MIT (who apparently gives broad lectures that literally involve him defining the term "randomness", so it must not be that hard a school after all) whose son is the recipient of a message from his school's time capsule. The message, written 50 years earlier by a 3rd grader named Lucinda, ends up documenting every major disaster from the planet's history in a series of numbers. This leads John on a trail to attempt to stop the upcoming disasters listed on the paper.
Director Alex Proyas ("I, Robot", "Dark City") attempts to ground the movie in a type of reality, attempting to explain the occurances as a matter of science, but this ultimately rings hollow. Again, if the awareness of an event is achieved, then so does the ability to stop it. But I digress, as the movie is not trying to make that point. In fact, the movie does not seem to make much of a point at all, save for the peculiar ending. Instead, what is shown up on screen is essentially a mystery-thriller in which John makes every effort to prevent these future disasters. The problem with this is that there is essentially nothing he can do about them, giving the entire chase a pointless undercurrent. The action elements are rather impressive and are easily the most entertaining parts of the movie. This unfortunately should be some of the least impressive stuff in a movie that is primarily supposed to be science fiction.
Nicolas Cage again plays pretty much the same eccentric character that he always plays, which is not always a bad thing when he is given the right material. Unfortunately all the script requires him to do here is run from one place to the next and scream at people, offering little in the way of character. Sure there's a little subplot regarding his dead wife and his cemented belief in randomness, but it carries such little weight that the entire subplot just seems to serve mostly as filler for the character. The rest of the cast is adequate, but are given so little to do that it seems pointless to even mention them indvidually.
The film was not a complete waste of time, as it was certainly an engaging way to spend two hours and does present a few ideas that can make you think a little bit. But these are ideas that can be brought up without spending two hours watching a movie to allow you to reach that point. If only the movie had a little bit more focus on the science fiction aspect of the movie and less on the running around, it could have been one to remember. So while a mildly entertaining movie on its own merits, there is not much to recommend here and I certainly have no problem giving away the ending to you if you just want to save yourself the time and ask me straight away.