Monday, November 15, 2010

Mnet Sunday night movie: Knowing

I was convinced (before 'knowing' who the director was) that this was yet another failed attempt by M. Night Shyamalan ('Signs', 'The happening', 'Lady in the water', 'The Village' etc.). I had all the typical trademarks one had come to expect from the man: A seemingly interesting premise and good start, followed by a downward spiral into absurdity and irrelevance. To my sheer amazement, Knowing was actually directed by Australian, Alex Proyas ('I, Robot' and 'The Crow'). After finally forgiving myself for mistaking someone for Shyamalan (wouldn't intentionally do this to my worst enemy) it was much easier to look at the movie more objectively:

As mentioned, Knowing starts out extremely promising, as the mood for this dark sci-fi/suspense horror is set with utmost skill by means of decent camera work and a nicely varied and impressive score. At a certain point, the movie actually reminded me of the cult favourite Donnie Darko, as the movie's 'quiet' scenes create a thick layer of eeriness that seems to get more intense as the movie progresses.

The characters (well, most of them at least) also seem surprisingly interesting, with Nicholas Cage as a modern pessimist/father figure and a refreshingly excellent debut performance by child actor, Chandler Canterbury. The only really bothersome performance was from Rose Byrne ('Troy', 'The dead girl', 'Wicker park') who just seems to be horribly miscast as a mother with some serious mommy issues.

"A seemingly interesting premise and good start, followed by a downward spiral into absurdity and irrelevance."

The movie also benefits from some awe-inspiring action sequences (probably some of the best I've seen since Children of Men), giving the movie a great sense of balance in-between the heavily dramatic character-driven scenes.

Sadly, some time close to the halfway mark , all of this turns horribly sour, due to the lack of a believable and enthralling plot, as the viewer is forced to digest a unoriginal and almost laughably holey storyline that sucks the movie dry of any credibility. This a really pity when one considers what the movie had going for it... begging the question: Did someone take the time to actually read the script before direction started? One thing's for sure, Ryne Douglas Pearson (Screenwriter) should stick to writing books, seriously.

Either way, Knowing is a failed, but commendable attempt and even though it becomes very silly very quickly, the first 45 minutes is enjoyable enough to make one sit through the terrible second half. And I honestly do think it's a much better film than most of the rubbish that Shyamalan has tried to bore his audiences with. I look forward to seeing what Proyas does with his rendition of "The Silver surfer", due for release in 2012.

Highlight: When four planes mysteriously crash land, Cage finds himself enveloped in the ensuing chaos: A visually striking scene, that leaves quite an imprint on one's senses.

Lowlight: A weirdly out-of-place scene at a petrol station is just too silly for words, resulting in a ridiculous scene that announces the movie's descent into B-grade doom.

Nicholas Cage - the only man that can make a train smash look like a fashion shoot. Bravo

Rating: 2 Meerkat Tails