The latest offering from "I, Robot" director Alex Proyas, "Knowing" stars Nicholas Cage as John Koestler, a professor of astrophysics at MIT who tries to raise his young son, Caleb (Chandler Canterbury). Early in the picture, John and Caleb are at Caleb's school for the opening of a time capsule that contains letters from students of the class of 1959. While the majority are the usual cheery drawings, Caleb gets an unusual one - originally drawn by Lucinda (Lara Robinson) - which contains only row upon row of numbers.
While John initially looks at the paper with a mix of skepticism and curiosity, he eventually starts to piece together the horrifying truth: the note has predicted every major disaster in the last 50 years, and appears to be predicting that yet more will occur. While his findings are met with skepticism from his fellow colleague, John becomes more than convinced that the numbers are real when he finds himself at the frightening scene of one of the predicted disasters as it happens.
From there, John tries - with the help of the daughter of the woman who wrote the numbers, Diana (Rose Byrne) - to reach the scene of the predicted incidents as they are about to occur. Meanwhile, a series of shsdowy, otherworldly figures lurk in the distance, making their presence more known as the film goes on. "Knowing" has more than a few plot holes and goes a tad over-the-top here-and-there (even for a movie like this), but there's no denying that Proyas certainly gets it right at times and certainly manages to maintain the tension and a strong feeling of dread as the numbers lead to one terrifying incident after another - all leading towards a major, possibly worldwide event.
Despite working with a smaller budget than "I, Robot", Proyas and the film's production team have managed to create some utterly chilling effects sequences (a note: while the picture is rated PG-13, I'm a little surprised it didn't get an R.) The performances are a little mixed - Byrne and Cage have been better elsewhere (and Cage needs to accept his baldness, because the hair work isn't working), but the cast provides solid enough efforts to make the material work, even when it goes towards unexpected places at the end.
Tightly paced and haunting, "Knowing" may suffer from some plot holes and performances that could have been better, but the movie still remains a haunting, powerful sci-fi film, despite its flaws. It's one of the few movies made in the last year that has really stuck with me after the credits rolled.
VIDEO: "Knowing" is presented by Summit Entertainment in 2.35:1 (1080p/AVC) and the results are generally good. The picture was filmed with a new Red One (see this article from Wired magazine for more information on the camera: http://www.wired.com/entertainment/hollywood/magazine/16-09/ff_redcamera?currentPage=all digital camera. Sharpness and detail are quite good, even in some of the film's several foggy/murky night sequences, which the transfer handles quite well. The presentation has reasonably good depth to the image in most scenes and many images show fine details with enjoyable clarity.
No pixelation was noticed, nor were any instances of edge enhancement or other concerns seen. Colors looked warm and rich, such as the Fall colors on display throughout the picture. Black level remained solid, while flesh tones looked accurate. Overall, this was a top-notch effort from the studio.
SOUND: The film is presented with a DTS-HD 5.1 soundtrack. While a large portion of the film is dialogue-driven, some of the film's most intense sequences put the rear speakers to quite effective use in order to put the audience into the middle of some of the film's most terrifying sequences. Marco Beltrami's tense, urgent score sounded full and rich throughout the film, while dialogue came across sounding clear and natural.
EXTRAS: Director Alex Proyas and an unnamed interviewer are paired for an audio commentary for the picture. We also get two featurettes: "Visions of the Apocalypse", and "Knowing All: The Making of a Futuristic Thriller".
Final Thoughts: While it certainly has some flaws, "Knowing" is otherwise a chilling, moody sci-fi thriller worth seeing. The Blu-Ray edition offers fine audio/video quality and a few adequate extras. Recommended.
The Film B+