Sunday, May 31, 2009

Knowing (movie review)

This is a mash-up of several summer movie genres, an exercise in making them all fit fairly seamlessly.

Nicolas Cage is our beautiful mind guy, at MIT, teaching a confusing blend of philosophy in which strict determinism is the comforting faith, whereas "shit happens" is godless and depressing, though open to miracles.

That's not how it's supposed to work. Strict determinism is supposed to flip you into a despair cycle over your lack of free will. "Random acts" means you might pursue happiness.

But "MIT guy" is out to lunch on these threads -- or needs to be, in prep for mental breakdown, or so it first seems...

The whispery gothic of a New England ghost story is deftly inserted into a Stepford Wives 1950s, with eerily well-behaved kids living in some Norman Rockwell tableau (a favorite of the horror genre).

The Close Encounters people might as well be the same ones from AI? They look more like Spike though.

The ending is pure Genesis, but don't let me spoil it for ya (look for symbols).

And smack in the middle, there's Lost and that helpless feeling of just going by the numbers, not really helping the situation. Even after the plane crash, the train wreck is yet more spectacular.

So yeah, a real tour de force, and actually pretty seamless as plots go.

I'd say the title, Knowing, is self referential, means "we know movies" (and no lie, we do).