Reviewer, Stephanie Zacharek, Pans Nicholas Cage’s Faith Positive Film, “Knowing”

Unlike so many unenlightened scientists and rationalists, do you have faith? Or, if you don’t have faith, do you at least think that you should, and that faith is a virtue? If so, you might like the premise behind Nicholas Cage’s new film, Knowing.

Stephanie Zacharek of explains:

Cage’s character, John, has recently been widowed, and he and his son, Caleb (Chandler Canterbury), are still mourning her loss. We learn early on that John, a man of science, doesn’t believe in heaven, or even in—gasp!—God. Then a page full of mysterious numbers falls into his possession: A troubled little girl scrawled them out in 1959; they’ve been locked away in a time capsule ever since. When John looks carefully at the numbers, he notes a terrible sense of logic to them: They make specific references to the dates of past disasters — 9/11, the Oklahoma City bombing, any number of plane crashes and train derailments — and John fears they may point to future catastrophes as well. Can he stop these tragedies? Will he regain his faith? And will he meet a cute babe — one played by Rose Byrne — in the interim?

Ooh. Scary numerology. Do you believe? And why-oh-why must the numbers always be related to catastrophes? Can’t the universe next door ever hand out nice numbers—like the date that gay marriage becomes legal in California—and not just the numbers of the devil?:

[Director Alex] Proyas (“I, Robot”) makes sure we get to see a good selection of massive disasters, including a plane crash in which victims, burning to death, scream in pain. There’s also a wildfire in which assorted moose, deer and bears — also in flames, and clearly suffering — stampede in fear. But hey, it’s all CGI, so who cares? And it’s all in the service of a greater idea: We must have Faith, with a capital F.

Sure a lot of people and animals die apocalyptically and senselessly. But that’s not what’s important. What really counts here is that Cage’s character discovers the lameness of his reason and his powerlessness before the mysterious forces at work in the universe, and so embraces faith and mysticism. That gives this film its happy ending.

And that is a happy ending, isn’t it?

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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2 Responses to Reviewer, Stephanie Zacharek, Pans Nicholas Cage’s Faith Positive Film, “Knowing”

  1. Paradigm says:

    I thougt the ending was a little anticlimactic even though it didn’t really ruin the movie. I found the film very suggestive and similar to the books of Dean Koontz, until the end when it became more drama than thriller.

  2. Summer says:

    Faith and mysticism do not go together. Faith is the substance of things hoped for the evidence of things not seen-Word of God. Mysticism is a western religion that worships gods(moon,stars, sun etc.) Therefore, the movie knowing focused on that there is “something” out there.There is one true God and you can’t represent him in movies as being anything you want him to be.

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